Daphne, Edinburgh Fringe review: surprising sketches from Footlights trio

Tight writing, talented performers and a leftfield approach elevate this sketch show

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The Independent Culture

Daphne are Phil Wang, Jason Forbes and “token white guy” George Fouracres, and they are the latest sketch trio to emerge blinking from Cambridge's illustrious Footlights stable.

They're an odd trio: Wang, who is building a reputation on the stand-up circuit, is the stiff, silly one, Forbes is the theatrical one, and Fouracres, eyes glinting behind his spectacles, is the one that appears to have a screw loose.

Their debut is a tightly written affair with plenty of callbacks and clever-clever deconstruction of the act of sketch - a trope that is rarely as amusing to audiences as it is to performers - but it is set apart by its leftfield approach to its other material. I haven't been so surprised by sketches in a long time.

A scene in which a doctor breaks the bad news to a mother is played out time and again until it reaches the very apex of awfulness. A Radio 4 drama recording reveals the hidden racial prejudices of its performers. A Shakespeare speech takes an unexpected turn. It's intelligent stuff, and all three are talented performers.

There is also, towards the end of the show, a quite spectacular scene in which Forbes makes a cup of coffee: it deserves its own West End transfer.

Pleasance Courtyard, to 31 August (0131 556 6550; www.edfringe.com)

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