Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Fully House Trained

Peter Collins, Neil A Edwards and Graeme Flynn
24:7 Theatre Festival
Pure Funktion Room, Manchester
(2007)

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Sketch comedy is notoriously difficult to realise and though this sequence was inventive and energetic it wasn't always consistently funny enough to be as successful as it aimed to be. All the sketches had really good ideas at their heart but some went on too long and some were simply too far off the mark.

There were however some highlights. The series of spoof adverts for odd products from the fictitious Halligans brand beamed onto the wall in between live sketches were hilarious and increasingly ribald. The skit about an application by an inappropriate young man at a Job Centre for the position of Prime Minister was also particularly funny. A short piece set within a family where the parents talked in management speak was highly amusing though very short. However the breakfast television send up went on too long on both its outings and stopped being believable and the Fire Brigade sketch was silly rather than funny.

Despite these drawbacks the performances were always spirited and often very skilled and improved the material considerably. From a hugely talented cast I would note the versatile Reg Edwards as well as the shamefully underused Jane Leffman. Both were always completely believable irrespective of what lunacy they may have been portraying at the time.

The staging was slick and the action happened in between rows of facing audience members and the slides and videos perfectly complemented the live action. This made for an effective theatrical space in the Funktion room at Pure.

Reviewer: Andrew Edwards