Kieran & the Joes in Success: a Success Story, Leicester Square Theatre, London
Thursday 13 January 2011
Three young men wearing white shirts and ties acting out themed scenes while their relationship dynamic changes through petty jealousies and annoyances sounds par for the course for the sketch genre, but there's enough of a twinkle in the eyes of performers Kieran Hodgson, Joe Parham and Joe Markham, and in the lines crafted by the cast and co-writer Tom Meltzer, that make this show a little above the average fare.
The trio lead ineffectual business-style seminars on achieving winning ways in just about any walk of life from job interviews to dating. Reflecting a generation who have come face to face with the unashamed bravado of The Apprentice the troupemock the idea of enthusiasm over experience and knowledge.
Confidence alone can make you a surgeon suggests a two-hander sketch from Markham and Hodgson, so much so that when the latter offers the former a scalpel he has to be reminded he can't decline that tool of the trade ("No, you do need that!") even if the normal seven-year training period has been glossed over.
Parham looks on incredulously at this scene as he does at many points in the show, though while his character finds himself squeezed by the other two he's the focus of much of much of the show's energy. At one point, Parham carefully pushes a sketch about dream jobs to the border of interminable, playing with silence before he reveals a sexual desire towards Hodgson.
Latent homosexuality is, of course, a familiar sketch ruse but the show uses tried-and-tested methods with fleet of foot that help push past bog-standard moments or over-exuberant skits including one about parenthood for which the zany physical pay-off is shaded by its verbal introduction that runs: "Successful parenthood is nothing to do with children but everything to do with how you make other parents feel."
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