Men of War Edinburgh Fringe review
Andrew Mickel26 August 2011
We had originally written a five-star review for Men of War, as their show included the funniest and best handled accident we've seen at this year's Fringe.
Except it would appear to not be an accident. Chortle saw it happen. Two other people we've spoken to have seen the same thing. And acted corpsing – however wonderfully convincing it is – is a hollow business.
It's a shame, but the convincingness of the supposed fail does point out some of the best things about the troupe. They can act, and vanish completely into their clearly-defined characters: Stephen Harvey's rambling retiring headmaster, Cariad Lloyd – fresh from her Best Newcomer nomination at the Fringe awards for her solo work – as everything. They know how to work together for the laughs, without vanishing into sketch troupe mush: a sketch on returning drunks that takes an unexpected turn gives them all clear laughs of their own. And their timing and reactions are absolutely spotless: what could easily have been a non-sketch about how daytime TV presenters introduce their guests was made into one of the show highlights by Lloyd and Gareth Kane's silent expressions to Harvey's speech.
There are definitely well-written sketches here, too: they appear at first glance to be old staples, from shopping channels to crime dramas, but every one has something fresh in it.
The one sketch that doesn't quite manage to do that is a needlessly recurring sketch about online paedophiles. It's not very funny to begin with (NOTE TO ALL COMEDIANS: no-one under the age of 40 has ever written 'l8' in a message) and its constant reprise seems like the work of a lesser sketch troupe.
But that's one vague dud in an hour of otherwise flawless comedy that whipped by so fast, we assumed they'd early. We're looking forward to what Men of War do next. That just hopefully won't include them finding their work quite so funny.
Your rating: None
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