Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: BEASTS: Live DVD, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson.
After last year’s breakthrough hour, BEASTS return with a supposedly common purpose. Shooting their show as a DVD taster for a Hollywood mogul, Owen Roberts, James McNicholas and Ciarán Dowd predictably can’t prevent their petty infighting, conspiring against success with their overblown egos and rank stupidity.
As a premise, the recording is effective, unobtrusive for the most part, reintroduced whenever they have to move the hour on. Or, more often, regress, with the taping not going to plan. Watching them scupper sketches more than once, anticipating the buffoonery and enjoying the twists is a big part of the fun. But it’s the gusto of the performances that raises BEASTS above the herd.
As the marginally less daft but pretentious leader, Roberts struggles to hold it all together with vein-popping intensity, while McNicholas consistently gets the wrong end of the stick but retains a convincingly childish, scheming side. Greatest of the fools, Dowd’s willingness to shed his clothes is matched only by the big sweaty lug’s his sweet, rambunctious desire to entertain.
With fewer stand-out skits than 2014, there’s not the same surprise element this year, but BEASTS remain underrated monsters of the sketch scene.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 21 August 2015
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