Saturday, August 20, 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011: Sheeps

Three-man sketch group Sheeps has come to Edinburgh with a show which has lots of lovely ideas, and which is performed with a huge amount of energy and a heck of a lot of acting nous, but which varies in quality quite considerably.

My favourite sketch by some way is one in which an incredibly creepy lighthouse keeper decides to build his son a friend using the slowly decomposing body parts of dead people... if anything, it's even darker than that makes it sound, but it's also really funny and brilliantly performed.

The longer sketches like this which rely on great dialogue are the ones which tend to work well overall, in fact, so these three gents are clearly talented writers. I also really enjoyed a sketch involving two lesser-known members of the Black Eyed Peas complaining about Fergie, and just listening to them give out about her in a highly passive-aggressive way is a lot of fun.

But then at the other end of the spectrum there are one or two notable mis-steps, particularly a sketch about the cliches that footballers use, which seems a bit of an easy laugh. Plus, there are a couple of sketch group 'conventions' used here - there's the suggestion that one of the guys is meant to be the 'dumb' one, and another leaves the group temporarily for a glamorous life on the French Riviera - and I just don't think Sheeps need to stay so safe; in fact, they're at their strongest the odder they go.

Then again, another of the really enjoyable sketches is simply a pitch-perfect parody of inane television game shows... So perhaps the key word here is just 'potential'. There's bucket-loads on show, in both writing and performing, and there's little doubt over time Sheeps will get better and better as they really focus in on what they do well.

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