A handy debut from Hislop and Fishwick
The university revue conveyer belt can always be relied upon to provide a few sketch shows, and the latest hotly tipped act is Giants. Will Hislop and Barney Fishwick are they, and in some ways their debut is reminiscent of many a post-university sketch show: zippy, sometimes funny, and a bit show-offy.
But to dismiss them as “just another” would be wrong, as there’s some good stuff lurking in there. There was certainly enough flair in their writing and performance to suggest this is a worthwhile endeavour. Hislop is the more eye-catching performer (and not just because he has the sprinkling of stardust of being Ian’s son), but they make a strong pairing: Fishwick larger and often holding back slightly in a Tim Key-ish manner; Hislop smaller, more alert.
There were a couple of strong early markers: firstly a TV news report where the satellite delay causes problems. I doubt this is the first sketch on such a subject but it was well-executed and had a cheeky twist. Secondly a sketch about how they resolve arguments via dance.
Another sketch that was impressively done despite feeling like a bit of an old chestnut, was their run-through of a play which Hislop had made some late edits to. Confusion reigned, of course, their tight timing bringing the funnies. It was spoilt rather by the appearance of Hislop’s innuendo-spouting widow, which felt like quite a lazy idea.
If you’ll forgive the cliche of the sketch show being hit and miss, this was a sketch show that was hit and miss. A terrifying Scottish dad who objected to his son’s ballet dancing had a twist early on that kind of killed the sketch. Later on – the show ran out of steam really – a comic police interrogation and a spoof Eurovision song didn’t add up to an awful lot.
Hislop and Fishwick (sounds like a conveyancing firm) come across as a safe pair of hands, and for the large part they are. In these strong times for young sketch groups, Giants’s debut is a decent opening bid, but there’s work to be done if they really want to be noticed.
Review by Paul Fleckney