4uarters was the title of Nick Mohammed's last show, but I could not begin to tell you what fraction would adequately sum up this collection of character work.
For the most part the show is manic and frenetic. These are the qualities of the more successful characters; the posh, ditzy student who says in all innocence: "Did you know that The Observer and The Guardian are the same?", and the boss interviewing a job applicant who asks if he can tape the proceedings and then plays back a different, pre-recorded conversation to her.
Unfortunately, these ideas don't work in terms of pace and format. A blistering start sees characters appear and re-appear after the shortest of sequences. One, a loopy hairdresser, is continually faded in and out. Equilibrium is finally reached when the boss, the student and a lecturer on ESP become the mainstays of the show.
Throughout the madness of the format, Mohammed is sharp, with great comic presence. When it comes to pull-back and reveal and the element of surprise, he's something of a magician. "Jasmina doesn't eat beef or pork... or chicken... she's vegetarian," says his posh student with delicious timing. His hairdresser character eventually asks his customer: "Do you mind if I take off the fez?"
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