FRINGE REVIEW – The Penny Dreadfuls, Pleasance

*****

Until 30 Aug   1800 (1900) @ Pleasance

The Penny Dreadfuls have been hyped as one of the must sees of this year’s fringe, especially after their tremendous run here last year.  Despite their previous praise having been received for their Victorian themed humour (hence the name), they have returned to their original sketch comedy style for this year’s show.  Having previously received numerous four and five star reviews, they appear on their bold black and yellow set to a packed house of eager fans.
 
These guys certainly have a strong theatrical presence on stage.  Thom is truly impressive as he takes on various female characters – quite scarily so!  He also has a remarkable talent for facial expression which has to be seen to be appreciated.  This trio definitely don’t lack confidence as they command the stage for their audience.
 
However, it appears this brand of sketch comedy would be better suited to a more visual medium such as television or animation, where the setting could be truly realised.  The random nature of the sketches which are loosely linked, although full of silliness in their own right, just do not seem to work quite as well as intended.  No doubt true Penny Dreadfuls fans will enjoy their trademark silly skits but this show fails to exploit the full potential of these three talented men.

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