Zimbani (3 stars)

This article is from 2008.


Stretching an ingenious sketch to breaking point

Comprising two perky male leads and a woman referred to throughout as 'The Secretary', this elongated sketch details a plot to kidnap an African dictator (the titular Zimbani) in an overwrought pastiche of 70s spy adventures. It resembles Garth Marenghi's Darkplace but without the modern-day wraparound. But plot be damned as the ludicrous action takes us on a voyage of clichés including over-earnest deep intonation, period facial hair and rampant Life on Mars-esque sexism.

It's all performed with great energy but it's telling that gaffes (deliberate or not) tend to generate the biggest laughs. It also feels like a ten-minute sketch stretched to an hour, and audience attention wanes while awaiting a twist that never really happens. However, the journey incorporates enough fun to carry us through, particularly a punch-up choreographed to avoid dangerous bits of set and an inspired training montage. Ingenious fun.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 20), 2.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).


  • 3 stars

A perky sketch show which stretches ideas to breaking point. Ingenious fun. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'.

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