ADC Lateshow, 11pm, until Sat 16th June
I defy anyone to come and see ‘The Pin’ and not leave still wiping the tears of laughter from their cheeks. Ben Ashenden, Mark Fiddaman and Alex Owen, three seasoned Footlights, have returned with a reworked version of their 5* sketch show from last year, before they take it to Edinburgh in the summer.
The concept of the show is very simple but entirely inspired. A series of individually funny and carefully sculpted sketches all subtly interwoven to create a linear narrative, which is then enacted out of order, the final scene being shown first and the transition between this and the others being demarked with the use of lighting and sound to symbolise reversing or fast-forwarding through time. The sketches vary greatly in length, setting, genre and style of humour creating a pleasing array which beautifully showcases the incredible talent of these three up-and-coming comic prodigies.
Choosing a stand-out performer from the three would be impossible, as each provided perfectly-rounded and exquisitely-timed performances. Alex Owen demonstrated wonderful physicality throughout, relying on this perhaps too much for my liking but not so for his appreciative audience. Ben Ashenden’s portrayal of an excitable self-defence instructor quickly had the audience in stitches, as did his hilarious Richard Branson impression. Mark Fiddaman was also superb throughout, the odd incident of corpsing only adding to the hilarity of the evening and demonstrating, for anyone who couldn’t tell already, just how much fun these guys clearly have together.
As well as brilliant jokes, the show also provides a host of exciting characters, all polished, well-worked and well-rounded. What was particularly remarkable was the boys’ ability to switch between these characters at the drop of a hat in what were almost flawless transitions. In one restaurant sketch, they were required to jump from supposed table to table in the space of only a few moments taking on three entirely different characters.
The only thing that I didn’t quite understand was the title of the play. When referred to the ADC website, one is told that “the show begins with a single pin and ends in fatal disaster”. The fatal disaster I remember, the pin I think I missed – probably because I was too busy laughing raucously.