August 21, 2008

Comedy Review: Aeneas Faversham Forever

By Matt Brereton



THE Penny Dreadfuls initially made a splash on the Fringe with their Victorian-era sketch-show tomfoolery. The trio attacked their work with relish and brio and, as The Scotsman reviewer who saw them back in 2006 correctly predicted, they were destined for big things.

After being given a series on BBC radio, in which they developed character sketches under the Aeneas Faversham banner, the threesome have now developed a longer version for the stage. Unfortunately, their breakneck muggery is just not as well served by the format. They clearly have a whale of a time hamming their way through the rather contrived plot, and each player takes on several character roles just as before, but some of the pure joy has been sacrificed in favour of exposition.

Still, there are some neat visual touches, and the trio's natural flair for stagecraft means they wring the last ounce of bathos out of the writing, to the delight of the sell-out crowd. Their comedy is a serious cut above most of the woeful tosh currently being commissioned for television - who knows what they'll have achieved by the time next year's festival rolls around?

Until 25 August. Today 7:10pm

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