- Dave Coates
- 16 August 2015
This article is from 2015.
Three chairs and almost telepathic synchronisation
Minor Delays return after last year’s highly regarded debut, with their format honed, staging even more minimal, and their keenly observed, high-energy, often deeply maudlin sketch comedy in fine shape.
Abi Tedder, Harry Michell (both former Cambridge Footlights presidents) and Joe Barnes (former president of Leeds Tealights) come to the stage with nothing but a chair apiece. Facing the audience and away from each other, it’s immediately clear just how fine-tuned the performance is, many sketches relying on almost telepathic synchronisation. What the three make from little more than facial expressions and the audience’s imagination is breathtaking.
Minor Delays is a kind of comedy of manners, a cast of characters trapped in perpetual discomfort, and each scene moves simply but weirdly from set-up (a couple meet Racist Mike at a party, a seven-year-old talks like a wealthy art school graduate) to payoff. Tedder’s ability to convey real emotion in the middle of Michell and Barnes’ frantic and highly expressive energy gives the show an impressive amount of heart.
Occasionally the bleaker moments come across as slightly mean-spirited, and a couple of sketches rely a little heavily on a twist ending. But these moments are the exception in a sequence of palpable hits.
Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 31 Aug (not 17), 4.15pm, £8–£10 (£6–£8).