Sketch quartet Delete the Banjax put on one of the best hours you will find in the free festivals, writes Paul Fleckney.
Much like the world 100 snooker rankings and Sainsbury’s sausage range, sketch comedy has real strength in depth at the moment. And it remains high quality right down to the Edinburgh free festivals as well, as Delete the Banjax demonstrate.
There are four of them, the style is high-energy juvenilia and visually they all look different (one woman, three men of varying height and hirsuteness) – so far, so sketch. What makes this an hour that fizzes is the quick-fire interaction between the quartet, and that their inventive sketches take place in a world only loosely connected to ours. The sketches take familiar formats such as the quizshow, the improvised comedy game and award ceremonies and take them on a walk down a twisted lane. The script is smart, too – think That Mitchell and Webb Look, only with better lines.
Their ace card is Dan Cook. Watching Banjax reminds me of watching Pulp, where you find yourself watching the wirey, charismatic one at the front who’s got the x-factor (let’s start trying to reclaim that phrase, huh?). Cook indeed has the lion’s share of the best lines and delivers them like a more mischevious, less angry Rik Mayall. One to keep an eye on…
There is some filler, of course, as with most sketch shows, and the final few sketches let things slip a little (songs about incompetent men and sexy girls at parties will be under the shadow of Flight of the Conchords for a while yet). There is also a bit too much high-pitched screeching involved, an irritant you could do without.
Banjax have definitely had a bowlful of Pappy’s for breakfast, but whereas Pappy’s could host a children’s party, Banjax would make them all cry. They’re a subtly surreal, inventive sketch group in a world of their own, and you should take a visit. It’ll cost you nowt.
Delete the Banjax is on until August 29 (except Aug 19) at 1:40pm at the White Horse (PBH’s Free Fringe).