Croft and Pearce are a comedy double act with some hot credentials, having toured across the country with rave reviews and having had their own Radio 4 show (having had their break on Radio 4’s “Sketchorama”). The pair came on stage all smiles, but without a word of introduction launched into their first sketch; what followed was 2 hours of non-stop sketches. It was a real feat to hold the audience’s attention for so long (albeit with a short interval), but the two 50-minute halves of the show whizzed by in what felt like fifteen minutes. This is a real accomplishment given how dated and lacklustre the sketch-show format has become in recent years, to the point that they have almost disappeared from our TV screens.


Croft and Pearce achieved this with a diverse range of characters and situations, many involving the pair scrambling up into the audience. It was a real tour-de-force given the sketches ended with two seconds of music and down lighting, with one or both of the pair remaining on stage: just one glance to the floor, then head up as another character is born. The performance was very well crafted, perfectly executed and clearly highly rehearsed. In simple plain clothes, the pair easily took us to different worlds and characters without any need for props, which was impressive. Likewise, the use of regional accents was very good, as was the use of French.

Some of the characters featured throughout the show, as per the sketch show format, and to Croft and Pearce’s credit, a few of these characters did become memorable and lovable. Moreover, some of the characters became interlinked as the night went on, which was clever. Some of the most memorable characters included June and Jean, a pair of middle-aged retirees who continuously try to kill themselves as they encounter ridiculously banal 3rd world problems, before bringing themselves back from the brink of despair with more and more inane small joys. Sketches like these worked best because they involved shrewd observational humour that you could tell the pair was most familiar with.

Sketches talking about drug abuse (“Let me tell you, I’ve got the track marks”) and more lower-class people didn’t work so well, and felt more like stereotyping at times rather than observational—unsurprisingly, the comedy worked best when they were writing what they knew about. Likewise, some of the blue humour didn’t work, and just didn’t fit well with the demeanour of the comedians at all (compared to Amy Schumer who is brilliant at this): for example, one sketch’s humour was primarily hinged on the repeated phrase, “big penis.” It felt childish, and like the pair had forced this element into their show because they thought they should, or because they thought the audience would want some more adult-themed sketches.

The show finished on the pair using written cards to communicate thanks and that the show had ended. This was very sweet, and it was a clever touch that the pair never actually spoke to the audience as themselves. The show, even at 2 hours long, left us wanting more, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from this talented pair in the future.

Reviewer: Ben Spencer

Reviewed: 19th June 2016

North West End Rating: ★★★★