Late Night Gimp Fight – Edinburgh Festival review

Late Night Gimp Fight are riddled with talent, they just haven’t quite figured out how to use it yet, writes Paul Fleckney

If Late Night Gimp Fight were cLate_Night_Gimp_Fight2onsistent, they’d be bloody amazing. As with their 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated show, their 2012 one displays such originality, creativity and pioneering spirit (as well as great jokes) that it confirms my belief that they are capable of becoming one of our most celebrated sketch groups.

But it’s just not sustained over the whole hour. The gag hit rate is lower than last year’s offering, and there’s some flagrant showing off where a gag should reside.

They can clearly do it – I loved their twist on the football draw and the interpretive dance to Adele. Their dark panto scene is brilliant and original, as is the one where office workers are typing gossipy emails to each other which appear on the screen behind.

When they get the balance right between technology and comedy, or singing/dancing and comedy, Gimp Fight are simply fantastic. Too often that balance tips too far towards the former. One scene encapsulates this perfectly: Lee Griffiths and Matt Ralph are engaged in a swing jazz number and playing with their own shadows on the screen. The interaction with the shadows then takes over the sketch and moves across all five screens onstage (I know, FIVE). God knows how much time and effort went into this, as it’s so meticulous and complex. But as a comedy sketch it wasn’t worth the effort. And as for the skit that includes full frontal nudity, the rules of comedy are the same as they are for life: getting your cock out must always be a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Gimp Fight might be better off ditching the “shock” tag, too. Their funniest material often comes when they’re not trying to be shocking, and in a world that has seen and survived Jackass and Jerry Sadowitz, they’re fighting a losing battle.

This has been quite a negative review in tone when in fact I enjoyed a lot of the show, but Gimp Fight set themselves high standards with their intermittent brilliance. It’s a show that’s more impressive than it is funny, when in fact they’re capable of both.

3.5 stars

Late Night Gimp Fight is on at the Pleasance Courtyard at 10pm
Review written by Paul Fleckney

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