Rat: Induction (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Rat: Induction

Shrewd and funny sketch show hits the mark at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Rat are already standing on stage, bored and dejected, as the audience file in, hellishly inane muzak playing on a loop over the soundsystem. The trio (Alistair Donegan, David Newman and Camilla Whitehill) are trapped, waiting for an unspecified induction while regaling their life story to one another and to the disembodied voice of authority (provided by Charity Wakefield) that comes over the tannoy.

One of the major problems for sketch comedy is linking one scene with another and the framework Rat have devised is perhaps the most cohesive overarching narrative of any at this year's Fringe. Their Kafkaesque set-up is the perfect excuse to build on each character's background, adding a level of depth most comedies of this type rarely even attempt. Thankfully, Rat have thought through their material as succinctly as their set-up, resulting in a show that’s both shrewd and funny, often mining some dark tragedy for the best gags.

A couple of punchlines fall flat and an Egyptian sketch feels out of place even with a great gag at its centre. But their past experiences as an inappropriate grief counsellor, a boy whose father fears the internet and an appalling Tinder dater usually hit the mark. It all ends with a wonderfully meta final kiss-off that brings the show to a snappy close proving how cleverly constructed Induction is from start to finish.

The Tron, 556 5375, until 24 Aug, 2.20pm, £6--£7 (£5--£6).

Rat: Induction

  • 4 stars

Rat Rat are the voices in your head, the thoughts you have late at night, the stuff you scream inside but never say. In a fast paced show, Rat will take you on a hilarious and sometimes dark journey through human existence. You'll laugh. You may cry. You may cry some more. You'll do one more small laugh, then it ends.