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In Cahoots at The Hen and Chickens – Review.

| Comedy | 30/09/2013

In Cahoots

Paul G Raymond and Luke Manning are ‘In Cahoots’, a sketch comedy double act that picked up a number of five star reviews at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.   After recently seeing them perform as part of improvisation group ‘Shoot From The Hip’, I made my way to The Hen and Chickens to see what else these boys had to offer.

Bouncing off each other like human shaped trampolines, it soon becomes clear that Paul and Luke are very much on the same wavelength.  So at ease are they in each other’s company, that it’s not long before the whole room is filled with a genuine sense of camaraderie.  When sketches veer into slightly more controversial areas, any danger of offense is quickly doused by the cooling nature of their combined personalities.

Infusing large parts of their show with a melodramatic physicality, In Cahoots bring to mind the best bits of the silent movie era.  Rubber faced at times, they reinforce the idea that sometimes there’s nothing quite as funny as the exaggerated dimensions of a crying man’s mouth.

Such is their vocal range, this double act can often make it seem like they’re more than just a two man show.  Flipping between conservative caveman and inaudible Scottish tour guide, between permanently outraged midwife and love struck army gent, these lads demonstrate genuine variety in their pursuit of big laughs.  Inventive, innovative and textured with intelligent strains of thought, these are sketches rich in flavour.  With more interesting characters than you can shake a stick at; it’s surely only a matter of time before someone picks these guys up.

Subverting your expectations in ever more surprising ways, some of their skits have more twists and turns than a HBO box set. Masters of the perfectly timed curveball, In Cahoots decorate their comedy with unpredictable moments that only serve to enhance the live experience.  This is exciting comedy, cleverly structured and worthy of wider acclaim.

Never afraid of adapting to suit the room’s mood, these two are sharper than a pair of samurai swords.  Malleable and quick of wit, they’re able to switch in and out and of character at ease whilst always maintaining comedic momentum. They make it look easy when in reality it’s anything but.

If the problem with British television these days is a shortage of first-rate sketch shows, what is the answer?

Based on their latest offering, the solution might just be In Cahoots.

By Jack Clayton (@BilboTalk).

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