Party has arrived in London for a lap of honour following its sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, where cast members Tim Key and Jonny Sweet won the Comedy Award and Newcomer Award respectively for their solo efforts.
Scripted by another former Edinburgh award-winner, Tom Basden (who also stars), it's a brisk one-act comedy that centres on the efforts of five dimwitted would-be politicos to form a new party in the humble environs of a garden shed.
In order to avoid split votes, they've invited Duncan (Key) – whose stepfather also happens to own a printing firm – to join as the fifth member. As they argue over whether they're in favour of China, decide the word “them” is offensive and pour away the unfairly traded coffee, Duncan reveals he's been lured under a misapprehension; he was expecting an actual party, which is why he brought a bottle of wine.
Anyone familiar with the comedy group Cowards (of which Basden and Key are members) will be used to the off-beat style of delivery, though some may find it takes a while to attune.
The cast (particularly Sweet, who plays wannabe party leader Jared), deliver their lines with a kind of heightened ponderosity that can seem wilfully amateurish at times, but is also extremely effective at underscoring the characters' naivety. This is not the witty repartee found in Yes Minister or The Thick of It, but its satire is no less biting as a result.
Big laughs come in unexpected places, with a silent sequence involving a jug of water providing the stand-out moment. But there's plenty of wry observation on offer too, along with some good old fashioned punnery (“You're communication Tsar” says Basden to Key, “my communications are what?” comes the reply).
There are a few character inconsistencies - for example, Jared doesn't know how to pronounce Menzies Campbell yet can joke about Nick Clegg's promiscuous past. But despite a few devils in the detail this is a hugely enjoyable evening, with Katy Wix, Anna Crilly and Nick Mohammed completing an exceptionally talented ensemble.