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Sheeps, Soho Theatre review - sketch comedy with a touch of the surreal | reviews, news & interviews

Sheeps, Soho Theatre review - sketch comedy with a touch of the surreal

Sheeps, Soho Theatre review - sketch comedy with a touch of the surreal

Friendship, fake gurus and fun

Alastair Roberts, Daran Johnson and Luke Williams are 'Sheeps'

Sheeps, the sketch comedy threesome, had never really gone away but when they performed Live and Loud Selfie Sex Harry Potter at the Edinburgh Fringe last year after a four-year absence, it was called a comeback. More a welcome reunion, as its members – Liam Williams, Daran Johnson and Alastair Roberts – had been busy doing solo projects.

The show, which they have brought to the Soho Theatre for a short run, is in the same vein as their previous work – original and intelligent sketch comedy with a touch of edginess and the surreal.

It’s an insightful exploration of long-lasting friendships that have to weather the strain of adult lives increasingly spent elsewhere, whether in relationships, parenthood or forging a career.

That makes the hour sound rather serious, yet it's not – although parts of it do tug at the heartstrings. It’s gloriously silly, starting with something their fans would never have thought they would see at a Sheeps show, a song-and-dance number. But it's one in which none of the three can either sing in tune or keep in step. The hour also contains a very clever meta sketch as they replay a scene over and over as nitpicking corrections are made to imaginary mistakes; it's a masterly piece of writing and performing that shows just how talented the three men are.

As the hour progresses, we gradually see the narrative – of how Williams and Roberts were gulled into getting the old gang back together again – emerge. The story is constantly interrupted by Johnson moping about, describing his pain at his recent split from his girlfriend.

Sheeps perform both short- and long-form sketches, which ultimately link to reveal the show’s purpose, including one set in an East London tech start-up with its own in-house riddler, another that takes a well-aimed dig at provocative thinker Jordan B Peterson, a breakdown of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” and, most inspired, a sketch that only late in do we realise is a scathing denunciation of Western attitudes to Syrian refugees.

The tone moves between arch and subtle, between surreal and playing it absolutely straight, and they hit their targets bang-on. Terrific fun.

As the hour progresses we gradually see the narrative emerge

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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