If the TV executives wandering round Edinburgh looking for new talent have any sense then they will head down to Laughing Horse @ Meadow Bar. For the duration of the festival Luke Manning and Paul Raymond, aka In Cahoots are performing in the upper bar at 12:00 midday.
Veterans of student improv productions at the Fringe, these two performers graduated from Royal Holloway and decided to bring a more scripted work to Edinburgh in 2013. Sketch comedy relies on strong writing and a rapport between the performers that the audience can buy into. In Cahoots has both. Though the show is mostly scripted there is still room for improvisation as the duo riff off each other, their history together giving them the trust that they’ll get back on piste after any flight of fancy.
The two performers are enthusiastic and fully-energised, occasionally unable to stop laughing themselves when an improvised section goes well. They have written so many sketches that their 55 minute slot flies by. As with all sketch shows some work better than others, but here none outstay their welcome and the ratio of hits to misses is high.
The witty twist on a normal situation drives most of the comedy, but the duo are not afraid to venture into the controversial. A father lulls his son to sleep with a nursery rhyme for terrorists, whilst Manning risks the wrath of a nation by attempting a thick Scottish accent. This was a straightforward laugh at the incomprehensibility of accents to unaccustomed ears. Manning’s garbled brogue was amusing, but I’m guessing they’ll have to drop sketches like that if the BBC come calling. They can instead make more of their catchphrases, like But don’t make that assumption, which I can see being shouted around the high streets of Britain and eventually driving its creators mad.
This show played to an almost completely full house, which at the start of the festival suggests it will be one of the hits of 2013. I had been intending to see something else, but I was handed a flyer by a blond chap in Bristo Square. The venue was near and when you’ve been at the festival a few days that becomes a consideration. Generally we don’t tend to take things that people try to give us on the streets, but if you are at the festival make sure that you break that rule and take every flyer you’re given. Who knows what treats you will find if you just stick out your hand.
The Meadow Bar,
42 – 44 Buccleuch Street
Until 25th August. 12:00 midday.