If you are a fan of the comic stylings of comedy duos such as Fry and Laurie or Mitchell and Webb, then Final Cut is your cup of tea with an extra dollop of sugar thrown in for good measure. Be prepared for exceptional nonsense writing delivered with sincerity, coupled with inventive and entertaining characters who will leave you with the soul-warming feeling of old-school comfort.
“Stuffed to bursting with wit and charm and sprinkled with a subtle aroma of lovable insanity”
Fictional director, artist and personality Sir Trevor Brierly has died. Character actors James Coward and John Tothill present a series of sketches sewn neatly together in a hilarious bundle disguised as a memorialisation of his life. The aging characters of the brilliantly named hosts (Patio and Michaelmas) guide the audience through a selection of interviews, snippets of documentary and film clips about the Brierly and his life and works. Windows of physical comedy and clowning interrupt the verbal jousting when both elderly hosts struggle, quite athletically, to sit down.
Youth and enthusiastic theatre students are also parodied brilliantly, as Coward and Tothill play two black turtle-neck wearing actors who perform an early poem of Brierly’s, which is written in the style of Carol Ann Duffy. This recitation is accompanied by dramatic gestures and cotton bud-mikes stuck to their cheek. By this point, I was in stitches and there were at least two members of the audience chuckling uncontrollably.
Coward and Tothill are clearly confident and seasoned performers, interacting naturally with the audience, just as comfortable with off-the-cuff conversations as with their scripted and rehearsed scenes. Despite the ridiculous pomposity of some of the theatre practitioners and celebrities they portray, this pair are unpretentious and invite the audience to giggle away uncontrollably without fear of embarrassment.
The incorporation of filmed sketches allows for an increased variety of skits, which take the form of film clips from Brierly’s portfolio or documentaries about his life or family. I can only describe the final clip shown as being a work of genius simplicity.
Final Cut is a masterfully crafted display of silliness; inventive and off-the wall but quite simply charming. This is a sketch show tied together with a good, solid concept, stuffed to bursting with wit and charm and sprinkled with a subtle aroma of lovable insanity.
Image: Callum Hale-Thomson