Pappy's Fun Club
Sketch favourites achieve cohesion through chaos
This article is from 2009.
Sketch comedy at the Fringe is often accused of a lack of fluidity, in the absence of an over-arching narrative thread to keep its audience engaged. Former if.comedy award nominees Pappy’s Fun Club may have been guilty of this in the past, but somehow by admitting their act will be mayhem this year – attempting a world record feat of 200 sketches in 60 minutes is predictably impossible – they attain a fluidity that bestows an unexpected maturity on their off-the-wall ramblings.
With the prospect of losing the support of their rich benefactor Pappy if they don’t succeed in their goal, the four performers radiate limitless energy throughout the capacious Pleasance One and switch between characters with the confidence of far more established comics. The show is crammed full of witty punchlines and inevitable puns, none of which outstay their welcome, though some are particularly cringeworthy: look out for a series on ‘knife crime’ and ‘pin theft’. Each concoction is more surreal than the next, with a few classic 1950s tunes playing a crucial role in their success and a game-show like Totaliser making regular appearances to track their progress.
Though the audience might wonder how the world record attempt - which, it’s soon clear, is unachievable – will be resolved, it ultimately comes together with a neatness that’s a testament to how skilfully the show is written and performed. A sense of raffish spontaneity might pervade its action, but this is slickly constructed, blissfully funny comedy that will please much more than the group’s devoted fanbase. Pappy’s Fun Club, it seems, have breezed their way into the Fringe hall of fame, injecting long-lapsed exuberance into their chosen form without radically altering the genre.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 7.20pm, £12–£14 (£10.50–£12.50).