Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Rough-edged but clever and promising sketch comedy

The male half of late-1990s comedy nearly men The Four Horsemen plus a new recruit play games with what we expect a sketch show to be.

All three members of The Trap are also appearing with The Gonzo Dog-Do Bar Band, which gives us some idea what to expect. But fvrom the moment we enter the auditorium, the pre-show tape lets us know we're not in for the usual experience: instead of innocuous music, it's a strange, surreal monologue, the kind of nonsense that runs through your head as you're dropping off to sleep. Then in the opening sketch, the three of them sit down, looking at us impassively, and just as we think, "Oh, they're pretending to be the audience," we hear their taped thoughts about us: "Oh, they're pretending to be the audience"!

Some of the material relies on pushing taste to extremes, like a filthy, flatulent Pam Ayres poetry recital. At other moments, tighter slickness would help make the quality of execution match that of the ideas: for instance, bizarre as it seems to say it, shambolic conjuror character Magic Ian isn't quite unhinged enough. They seem to be still knitting together as a cohesive team, but they deserve to go further.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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