Kwat – Edinburgh Festival review

The sketch group formerly known as Quattro Formaggio, KWAT, have a show so good it can bring joy and darkness to the most sketch-weary soul

Kwat1CHRISO'DONOVANGreetings from KWAT! Wherever the f that is. I must admit, when I sat down in the cramped room upstairs at Just the Tonic, I was not in the most amenable of moods to watch yet another hour of sketch comedy. However funny, deft and different the many troupes might be around this time of year, see enough of it on a loop and even laughter starts to bore a hole in your soul.

Well, thank Christ for KWAT then. Previously operating under the name Quattro Formaggio, the more memorably titled KWAT serve up an hour of surreal, absurd and sometimes disturbing material laced together with plenty of laughs. Dark and delightful, the guys and gals play out scenarios of the mundane made sinister. Marriage proposals like phone contracts, the exploitative nature of ordinary kitchen ingredients, militant red squirrels taking back their colonised land – this four can put a twisted spin on anything.

It’s quick, clever, and snappily scripted. There’s a focus on words over the physical that keeps you on your toes but never trips over into self-congratulatory verbosity. As a team they gel well and seem to enjoy each other’s company onstage – it’s a tiny space they’ve got to work with, but they never make it seem cluttered.

If perhaps a sense of a developmental arc or overriding theme was lacking from the show, in its individual parts it was, practically without fail, pitch perfect. There are too many good ones to name – and to itemise the treats would take away from the enjoyment of watching them. But let me just say you will never watch Star Wars the same way again and a Jewish James Bond makes for something of an anguished protagonist. Having worked many a year in admin myself, there’s a special place in my heart for the King Lear spin on departmental downsizing.

Go and see it. And do be ok with all the words you would expect after the watershed.

4.5 stars

KWAT: Greetings From KWAT is on at 10.15pm at the Just the Tonic Caves

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