There is no such thing as a show that is too silly. That is a philosophy that Fringe veterans Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry, who comprise award-winning sketch troupe Pappy, seem to have taken to heart. Consequently, they’ve delivered Pappy’s Last Show Ever!, a sketch show that revels in its own silliness and ends up being a hell of a lot of fun. An hour zips by as the boys leap from sketch to sketch with barely a dip of the lights, never allowing the madcap energy to flag. The approach is simply the more gags the better, and last night’s audience were clearly in agreement.
The framing device that holds the show together concerns older versions of our three heroes, battling their failing memories as they try to piece together just what made this particular show their very last and repeatedly blaming each other in the process. What starts out feeling like a loose frame to hang sketches on quickly evolves into something sturdier, something woven into the jokes rather than existing in spite of them. The unashamedly silly humour is actually a little deceptive as it belies how tightly structured the show is. Every punchline is called back to, every throwaway gag seems to come around again. It’s a thoroughly planned-out hour
Despite this, Pappy still manage a fair bit of improvisation. Their fast, frantic style of delivery leads to a fair few gabbled lines, and they have no qualms about making fun of themselves and each other when a particularly bad one slips out. They also keep one eye on the audience and are always ready to pounce. Due to a drastic underestimation of Pappy’s popularity, your reviewer was forced to sheepishly take a spare seat in the very front row of the Pleasance Queen’s Dome, sticking out like a sore thumb wearing a hat that says “Press” on it. I was repeatedly, deservedly and brilliantly mocked throughout.
A disclaimer: Pappy’s Last Show Ever! is not for everyone. As mentioned above, it is very, very silly. You are never too far from an unbelievably corny gag, some of which will (and did) elicit a groan from even the most receptive audience. If you don’t think your jaded 21st century cynicism can tolerate a three-minute song about gloves, or more than one cameo by an alarmingly weighty-looking pink sex toy, you’ll want to have a good think before committing yourself. The rest of you, welcome. Prepare to leave the theatre with a big, goofy grin on your face.