Wed 25th – Sat 28th January 2012


Jan Freyberg

at 02:48 on 26th Jan 2012



PICK ME UP created a buzz. Sold out on the first night, publicity promised to “have you laughing, and also in a theatre”. And with a cast list as impressive as tonight’s, expectations were naturally high.

And it had it all: the comic timing that people who have seen any of these guys before expected, the ingenious writing that this ensemble has shown time and again, and the lovely stage interactions between them. But there was more. Taking this show further than your average sketch show, Ahir Shah, Lowell Belfield, George Potts, Jason Forbes and Ryan O’Sullivan tie the sketches together with such finnesse and lightheartedness that I found myself caught between roaring laughter and admiration.

Without giving away too much - and it says something about the quality of PICK ME UP that that is even possible for a sketch show - the last few minutes are one of those situations where you ask yourself quite how they managed to weave the huge diversity of sketches throughout the performance into that kind of climax with an almost ‘Memento’-like joining of scene after scene after scene.

There are points to be made about this show which digress from the raving of the rest of the review. But in light of a show this impressive, it seems trivial to spend much time on them: Some of the sketches did not end on a particularly great joke, and others seemed confusing when watching them. But this was more than made up for by the impressive foresight of the writers about how the audience would react to revelations later on in the show, and everything ultimately came together.

From the technical aspects, which looked great and gave the show slickness and through their speed supported the feeling you were watching multiple performances at once, to the creativeness of the sketches and the expertise of execution, this was an unbelievably professional performance.

And while funny jokes are something to be expected from a group of writers this prolific, this show gave you more: Movement that was so fluid it almost made the lines seem slow-paced, and characters that acquired depth in less than a minute. George Potts in particular showed great expression, and even managed to do so without a face for a lot of the time. And Jason Forbes stood out, projecting his lines with the confidence of always knowing how the audience would react to him. But it was really the natural interaction between all of them and the great coordination of their lines that made this brilliant (it was almost a miracle how with so much laughter from the audience, only a few lines were drowned out). It is the kind of synergy in a cast that gives you the impression that making this show must have been really really fun.

PICK ME UP has great writing, reliably great performers outshining

themselves, and superb direction. It is by far the best sketch show I have seen in a long time, and you should go and watch it. This may seem like a review from a particularly impressionable reviewer, but 5 star ratings are reserved for shows which “make you want to turn to the person next to you as you leave the auditorium to exclaim how excellent it was”. That’s not just what I wanted, that’s exactly what I did, and I’m pretty sure most people in the audience did the same.


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