Comedy sketch shows are not well suited to the stage. The rapid changes between skits can best be achieved on television. Messrs Comedy imaginatively tackles this limitation with audio comic moments that paper over the scene changes. This does, however, make you realise that the show would probably work just as well on radio. But this is a minor distraction in an otherwise very funny show.
Messrs Comedy are James Britton and Hugh O’ Shea who produce ,direct and act in the show. It is written mainly by Britton with contributions from his partner and others. The show follows a classic format with individual sketches framing an ongoing story. The latter, in which an experienced ‘ shusher’ tries to pass on the tricks of his trade, draws humour from our familiarity with real-life training films that as just as inept.
Other gems include a priest exorcising a man possessed by Barry Gibb (wonder if anyone other than me got the reference to Clive Anderson) and a bus driver channelling the spirit of Travis Bickle. The sketches are of varying lengths with some of the best clocking in at barely a minute.
The style of comedy can change within a skit. One of the best in which a relationship break-up begins phrased in the style of managerial doublespeak ends in a series of great puns. This technique is not always successful and it is hard to see why the final sketch – ‘ Superheroes’ features a song and it also suffers from uncertainty about whether it is poking fun at the superhero genre or geographical clichés.
Britton and O’Shea are joined by Jayne Edwards and Daisy Marsden (presumably Mesdemoiselles Comedy) . Whilst the former takes the more authoritarian roles the latter has a nice line in scatterbrained people with the best intentions.
Messrs Comedy manage to overcome the limitations of the theatre format to produce a fine evening’s entertainment