Reviewed by Katherine Kirwin
The Public Reviews Rating:
Pappy’s are made up of Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry, and are veterans of the fringe circuit, and have performed on Channel 4, BBC3 and Radio 4. Pappy’s have been nominated for the Chortle and if.comedy award at Edinburgh, and they began their show with a variety of their best past sketches, and following a short interval, began their new show ‘Last Show Ever’. With all of their experience it comes as no surprise that their show is slick and wastes no time dragging out sketches.
The collection of Pappy’s best/favourite sketches introduced us to Pappy’s fun, witty, sketch-comedy style. They use a combination of song comedy, one-liner jokes mixed in with slightly longer sketches to keep everybody amused; a little something for everyone. In the first half the recurring character of Dean the Dinosaur started out with a chuckle but by the time he made his last appearance, we knew him and were laughing in anticipation of his attempts to use his short arms to play sport or drink from a water bottle. Pappy’s awareness of how to pace their jokes, and tickle their audience into laughter is what has helped them break from the fringe into the mainstream.
Following the interval, we were welcomed to the more structured narrative arrangement of sketches that makes ‘Pappy’s Last Ever Show’. Could Pappy’s the “funniest sketch troupe on the fringe” [Scotsman] really be quitting the game and throwing in the towel? This was wonderfully scripted with the concept that Pappy’s show at The Lowry on 14th October ended up being their Last Show Ever, and therefore the gang arrive as old men reuniting at the venue and arguing over whose fault it was that they split up. The only way to resolve the argument is to remember and re-enact the Last Ever Show. The structure of the show is a great tool for shaping their anarchic craziness, allowing it to drive a plot, rather than wander off on a tangent.
There were some brilliant sketches, and without giving the whole show away, there were some moments of note that cannot escape mention. The slow, gentle comedy that Pappy’s perform was exemplified in two great sketches: the song of the ‘Were-priest’ and ‘Vampire Rabbi’ was hilarious and clever, and a ‘choose your own adventure’ song with fluffy props which had the audience in hysterics. Oh wait, and ‘the glove song’ was hilarious and the whole audience will no longer put on their winter gloves without thinking about what they reveal about themselves
Pappy’s greatest tool is that they have developed and honed their skills on the fringe circuit and know not to waste any time, moving quickly between sketches and songs. Also with experience, they’re self-aware and a lot of their jokes are based on their rubbish props, their physicality, and their own personalities. It’s an enjoyable, inoffensive show which is definitely worth catching whilst it’s on tour.
On tour until 29th November 2012