Lead Pencil (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Lead Pencil

A bubbly sketch show

Lead Pencil are the Portlandia of the Fringe. Like the US cult TV comedy, the trio of Louise Beresford, Maddie Rice and Dave Bibby have chosen to pitch their hour as being rooted in the 1990s.

But, like the Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein show, these period-related foundations are somewhat shaky and the audience might soon be left wondering what on earth this sketch here and that skit over there have got to do with that bygone decade, rather than just enjoying them for what they are.

The concept here seems limited to the show’s scene-changing soundtrack (Oasis and Hanson for example), which amounts to not being a concept at all.
Once you dispel those thoughts from your mind, there are some fine moments to be enjoyed, such as the song about trying to carry on without your precious iPhone and learning your ABCs, hip-hop style.

The overly fussy diners sketch (oops, Portlandia there again) and the Southern states survival guide don’t work quite so well, but there is a confident and endearing quality to Lead Pencil that keeps the hour bubbling along nicely.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 1.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50).

Lead Pencil: In Full HB

A sketch show that is literally sketched.