The Canon: A Literary Sketch Show (3 stars)

The Canon: A Literary Sketch Show

Bookish gags aplenty in a compendium of speedy skits

Classic writers like William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Henrik Ibsen and whoever the guy is that wrote Where's Wally? get the sketch comedy treatment here. A string of speedy skits are acted out by the Cambridge group, By No Mean Feet, a bookish group of six actors, writers, stand-ups and English lit students.

Wilfred Owen is imagined as a much-irritated man, struggling to concentrate on his poetry with all the noisy bombings going on, with Raphael Wakefield doing a good job of showing Owen's passive-aggressive English temper becoming frayed. James Joyce struggles to do a convincing elevator pitch for his next novel Ulysses to a publisher in another sketch, child-telekinesist Matilda has a prison bitch, and someone's nightmare vision comes true when Room 101 from 1984 turns out to be the TV panel show, Room 101 with Frank Skinner.

The humour ranges from silly to wordy, with feminist and celebrity trashy bits thrown in too ('Keeping Up With the Lears' is the group's reality telly update on the famous tragedy). The musical theatre flourishes will prove too grating for some, and the overly confident thespian style may turn off others. But there are funny moments too in a hit and miss compendium of literary jokes.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug, 2.40pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

The Canon: A Literary Sketch Show

  • 3 stars

By No Mean Feet 'The Canon, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. The – Ca – non: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. The. Ca. Non.' The Canon returns in its second edition. An irrepressible sketch show featuring an all-star cast of literary…

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