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Croft & Pearce: Croft & Pearce Are Not Alone review

| Comedy | 21/05/2017

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Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Croft & Pearce produce a set of entertaining sketches, interwoven storylines and clever dissection of British society which nearly match their first-class delivery.

While sketch comedy inexplicably continues to toil in the minds of television commissioners, it repeatedly excels in live venues across London and beyond.  As a case in point, this week saw Croft & Pearce take over the Museum of Comedy for five nights and impress with their entertaining sketches, interwoven storylines and clever dissection of British society, cutting across gender, class and geography with assured ease.

1490373317957Although less energetic than the likes of Birthday Girls and (ironically) Lazy Susan, this is partly circumstantial and part deliberate.  ‘Circumstantial’ because Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce are due to give birth within three days of each other in August – no doubt beginning to take its toll as they wind down their schedules.  The pair addressed their bumps head-on, as they vied for the well-wishes of office colleagues in the first scene.  And ‘deliberate’ because this approach allows them time to return to developing plots and lay bare more of their characters’ emotions.

The best example by far was the recurring tale of Jess and Daniel: progressing from an awkward romantic weekend in Paris (“I’m wearing no knickers, Daniel.” “Well, I’m wearing the aftershave my mother bought me.”) to an uncomfortably revealing hen-do (“What’s Daniel’s favourite part of your body?” “Oh, it’s probably my arsehole, isn’t it?”  “Er, he actually said your eyes.”), and then – excruciatingly – Daniel’s attempts to seek solace from his father post-breakup through a fog of male pride and awkwardness.

Other high points were Pearce’s Ozric – the unpleasantly pedantic IT specialist who reminded everyone of the worst person in any office whilst also engendering pity for his underlying insecurities – and Croft’s Scottish Pet Shop owner, Goliath, who was equally funny and vulnerable.  In fact, the pair’s portrayal of men was unerring throughout.

Not every Croft & Pearce sketch was so subtle, although the crowd-pleasing June and Jean (middle-class women suicidal over first-world problems: “When I’m gone, tell the gardening club the pesto was homemade.  It’s not a bad legacy.” “Jean, don’t do it!  You’ve only just bought the Brabantia and you’re getting on top of the recycling!”), and Geordie Brown Owl generated a high laughter count.

It’s no surprise they want to retain such accessibility, given it earned the pair their own show on Radio 4 last year.  But some of the lines were a little obvious and suggested they are presently less accomplished writers than performers, perhaps stemming from the pair’s drama school backgrounds.  However, if Croft & Pearce can develop their writing further and fully establish a USP when they return to the stage next year or beyond, their shows will receive the five-star billing their delivery deserves.

Croft & Pearce are performing Croft & Pearce Are Not Alone in Poole, Blackburn, Leeds, Hemel Hempstead and Amersham during June 2017.  For tickets, head here.  And to keep tabs on their return to the stage, see their official website / Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @CroftAndPearce.

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