An over-reliance on audience participation undermines an otherwise impressive show
I swear audience participation is at record levels. Perhaps it’s due to the adulation heaped upon Doctor Brown and The Boy With Tape on his Face a few years back, comics are queuing up to pick on their paying punters.
Catriona Knox has certainly signed up to the cause, having one particular person join in with all bar one of her sketches. One minute he’s a sous chef to a conservative battle-axe of a baker, the next he’s her sidekick at a TED talk demonstrating “power poses”.
It almost dominates the show, which is otherwise an impressive showcase of Knox’s considerable character comedy talents. Knox perfectly embodies her obnoxious chef in the opener, and her portrayal of Prince George is the highlight – a skit that morphs wonderfully into something far from a children’s playpen. She is also one of the jolliest comics you’ll see at the Fringe, creating a fizzing atmosphere that makes the show motor along.
A couple of let-downs – the TED talker doesn’t seem very well defined, and on occasions the involving of Callum (her just-about willing helper) into the sketches doesn’t lead to comedic outcomes – and that’s why where all here, surely: comedic outcomes. It works perfectly with the Prince George sketch, but for the TED talk and the deep south evangelist Christian it’s his awkwardness at not being sure what to do that gets the laugh – laughing at, rather than with, in other words.
All of which goes to show that there’s still a very particular skill in plundering the front rows and hitting gold. It seems the sketches have to be set up in such a way that something develops from the addition of a punter, rather than doing it for the sake of it.
There is, however, more than enough quality here for Knox to deserve the rapturous applause she receives.
Review by Paul Fleckney