Sheeps: Wembley Previews

Sheeps’ latest offering Wembley Previews is certainly a novel idea in that the sketch show takes the form of being a 'preview' for a gig at Wembley stadium before 90,000 people. The group attempts to perfect their opening aquarium-based sketch by exploring the countless interpretations each member has written, ranging from horror to mime to the surreal.

Though Wembley Previews does not quite hit the same heady heights achieved by their previous offerings, I for one hope that they will pack out Wembley stadium someday.

The trio made up of Liam Williams, Daran Johnson and Al Roberts, are in no shortage of talent. The writing is superb, much of the comedy being generated in the subtlety of the lines and the dynamics between the members. In this respect Sheeps are well above your average sketch group: they rarely rely on obvious slapstick, impressions or over-theatricalising the delivery. There is an understated hilarity and clear intelligence in the group's writing. This is backed up by their performances which are equally subtle, with just the tiniest expression causing outbreaks of laughter.

Another strength of the performance was the audience interaction, the group pretending one of the audience members was a world-renowned comic genius who would propel the sketches to greater heights. The format should be awarded full marks for its originality: it certainly did away with the tired norm of unconnected sketches, and innovative ideas are always refreshing and interesting for an audience.

The show was based around the idea of meta-comedy. Though meta-comedy, when used well, can be entertaining, Sheeps probably used it a little too much. After the full hour I had had just about enough as they squeezed as much out of the concept as they could. At times the show felt constricted by its own format, and thus lacked some of the diversity and freedom of ideas that their previous shows had attained. In pursuit of an original format they lost a trace of their brilliant comedy.

That being said, Sheeps are clearly talented with some phenomenal subtlety, refreshing originality and pure intelligence that sets them above many sketch troupes. Though Wembley Previews does not quite hit the same heady heights achieved by their previous offerings, I for one hope that they will pack out Wembley stadium someday. 

Reviews by Hamish Clayton

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Performances

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The Blurb

Funny trio Sheeps preview their forthcoming Wembley show. 'Just turn up, sit back and laugh' ***** (Edinburgh Festival Magazine). 'Something quite different and very exciting indeed' **** (Independent). 'One of the most exciting sketch acts to emerge in years’ **** (Time Out). 'It is, by some enormous distance, the most exciting, the most intelligent, the most p**s-yourself-funny hour on this or any other Fringe. They are just: That. Damn. Good' (A Gazette). #sheeps_EddyFringe_2014_show

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