Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Delete the Banjax: Pigs and Ponies (Edinburgh Preview) 11th July 2011

Who are they? Delete the Banjax are Samuel Champion, Daniel Cook, Gareth Cooper and Caroline May-Jones

Where did you see it? Pleasance, Islington

I am not the most hardcore of comedy attendees. I'm aware this blog sometimes looks like the ramblings of groupy but I've heard about more comedy than I've actually seen. Delete the Banjax were one of those names that I heard but never seen perform. I hadn't really read much about them either. Despite being 'a reviewer' now (Ha!) I don't read reviews unless I've already seen them. I went in open minded and with a cheap ticket.

Actually I lie; the ticket was cheap but my mind went in thinking I'd spend an hour stoney faced and the guitar that appeared in the corner of my eye didn't help my assumption. I'm not a big fan of musical comedy; I associate it with Tim Minchin, who I detest and my inner monologue just screams "FFS just be a popstar if you want to sing at me" I love music, I love comedy but I'm not really happy about them joining forces even if I see something that works. It feels a little student revue.

DtB rely on video a lot, not a bad thing and it is nice filler as opposed to what usually occurs; an awkward monologue whilst the others get changed. I particularly enjoyed 'Daniel Cook; an actor' showreel, which was only spoilt by the pub quiz sketch surrounding it. Unfortunately I didn't really rate Cook as a performer, otherwise and definitely felt like the weakest link; I'm not sure if it was his speaking style but his role just seemed annoying rather than 'LOL' funny. Intentional? I don't know but if so they need to distinguish between annoying but funny and just annoying.
L-R Daniel Cook, Samuel Champion, Caroline May-Jones and Gareth Cook

The others were much stronger. As the lone female I feared May-Jones role was just going to be hysterical female characters but she was a much more rounded performer, the 'Time after Time' and 'baby' sketch could have easily become the hysterical, screechy character that many female sketch acts resort to when they don't have anything funny but all had nice twists and she seemed to get the tone right, and had a lovely singing voice.

Cooper's shining moment was also the baby sketch. He gets the new mother character just right. He also made a very good George Osbourne in the VAT biscuits sketch. I feel he's ended up as the straight man to Cook's funny man and I'm not sure that should be the case. Champion reminded me of Adam Buxton in his sailor hat mode from Adam and Joe. He's meant to be dense and treated terribly by the rest of the Banjax but I much prefered him in his 'non-stupid' roles such as the over enthusiastic American in the 'English Comprehensive/Glee' song.

It is hard to focus on Delete the Banjax as individuals, it is a group that works because of the chemistry. There isn't building resentment or one that clearly hates another one (I have witnessed this at a show from another sketch group before) but ultimately Pigs and Ponies is rather forgettable, I rely on keywords and memories to write my reviews and my scribbled down notes on a tube aren't bringing any memories back. So many of the sketches are recurring so one I've remembered actually appears three times (the new names for things and Time after Time sketch, for example), which means they seem limited but I suspect they do what many have done; have a good idea AND STAY WITH IT FOREVER instead of experimenting and adding a fast paced multi-sketch element.

Their biggest achievement is making comedy songs that don't want to make me tear my ears off. Well done, Delete the Banjax.

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