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Messrs Comedy - Part One (Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Messrs Comedy - Hugh O’Shea and James Britton - both former MMU students - have returned to the North West after a year in London, with an intriguing mix of audio, dark comedy and unlikely superheroes for two nights in Salford’s King’s Arms.

The blend of talented performers (O’Shea and Britton are joined by Jayne Edwards and Daisy Marsden) have excellent dynamics and ensure plenty of character potential over the course of the hour-long show.

The problem with a live show is scene changes; although quick they occasionally inhibit the flow of laughter. This is somewhat disguised by using audio clips to separate some of the sketches. It’s a brave idea with some very funny solutions (Stereotype Airlines and Church Chat, for example). With the audience left in darkness during the audio clips it is a weird experience, verging on uncomfortable at times.

Highlights of the show are the excellent business-like relationship break-up of Edwards and Britton, and the professional shusher (no, really). ‘Colin Morgan’ was instantly recognisable as a fully-formed character. The tutorial in shushing was bizarre and hilarious, with Britton’s barely visible gestures sending many in the audience into hysterics. Appearing three times in the show, Messrs Comedy also realise they’re onto a winner with him.

With very clever writing (student life in two minutes snaps and an alternative to speed cameras) there’s almost inevitably some other less successful sketches. However, that’s true of any other sketch show I could name - from the Two Ronnies to the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. On this showing, Messrs Comedy are ones to watch as a welcome break from the stand-up scene familiar on the live circuit and TV.

- Laura Maley


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