The Pin (4 stars)

Layered sketch comedy from ex-Footlighters Ben Ashenden, Mark Fiddaman and Alex Owen

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This article is from 2012.

The Pin

Photo: Harry Carr

The beauty of sketch comedy lies within its potential to bring together the two worlds of theatre and comedy with the aim of creating something far larger and more consuming. With such limitless opportunity though comes great risk: a bombed gag, an awkward silence or a poorly received sketch all infest the perilous waters and, unlike more conventional stand-up, deviation from the pre-laid road is nigh well impossible. The show must go on.

Thankfully for those gathered in this sell-out Pleasance venue, The Pin deliver, and how. Whether your bag is unsubtle comedy, poignant drama, dark humour or thoughtful, layered and thematic theatre, The Pin strike gold with each and every effort. Beginning at the end of the story, the performance rewinds and fast-forwards through time revealing the dramatic culmination of an event that is then unfolded in front of us.

With skilful synchronisation of lighting, sound and onstage theatrics, there is a refreshing complexity to the show that keeps the cogs turning while portraying each event with perfect clarity. In addition to all of this, it should be considered that the trio of performers (ex-Footlights guys Ben Ashenden, Mark Fiddaman and Alex Owen) adopt a minimalist style and such an engaging display is achieved with virtually no props to aid them.

As the show draws to an end, an atmosphere of poignancy and sadness descends and you are left to ponder why, after such a cripplingly funny show, you should feel this way. Perhaps the answer lies in a feeling of withdrawal; that a production stylised with such craft and which has engaged us so effectively through onstage wizardry and lightning-fast cohesion has reached its finale.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 20), 4.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

This article is from 2012.

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