Seriously impressive, innovative stuff from sketch upstarts The Pin
High hopes for this one, given The Pin’s 2013 show was, I thought, pretty sensational, and showed a flair for plate-spinning (not literally). What Alexander Owen and Ben Ashenden have added this year is a sense of fun; they look like they’re actually enjoying themselves onstage for the first time, and that inevitably rubs off on the audience.
They’ve also stepped up a notch in having produced a sketch show that is in many ways not a sketch show, as the actual content of the individual skits is part of a wider show about the process of writing a sketch show – Sheeps have pulled off a similar trick this year. It sounds far more self-indulgent and unnecessary than it is. We have the script projected onto the screen, and Owen occasionally sits down at the laptop and updates it with notes and amendments. All the joins and the mechanisms are brought to the fore, but you hardly notice.
The actual sketches are brilliant little things woven into the show, such as one performed with their identical twins onscreen, and an attempted transaction in a bike shop (not that that begins to tell you anything about the show). Pound-for-pound I think last year’s sketches had an extra zing of virtuosity to them, but that is countered by the fact that the the pair having loosened the reins, and tried to cram less into the hour. The room consequently has a room to breathe and enjoy the sense of silliness.
Towards the end, the audience participation begins to dominate, and what they do with it is fun and smart, but it seems like a waste – these are two of the most talented sketch writers and performers around, why take such a back seat? It seems a waste to me.
Still, very much a highly recommended show, especially if sketch is your thing, and a genuine boundary-pusher.
Review written by Paul Fleckney