Idiots or Savants? [by Sharu Delilkan]
Entering the Herald Theatre greeted by four slightly dodgy war film characters it was great to see that the British obsession with the World Wars, (2-0), was still alive and kicking.
This of course soon descended into the chaos and confusion that we expect from a show like Idiots for Ants.
Having already been to another show earlier in the evening our funny bones had been tickled so we were ready to be tickled pink. And tickle us pink they did.
For fans of British humour the four guys on stage, Andrew, Benjamin, Elliott and Jimmy, delivered their multi-sketch format aka The Fast Show or ‘Python-esque’ with a baffling variety of ridiculous characters and situations.
The ‘idiots’ had clearly arrived in NZ to have fun which was infectious with as much warm humour and ‘piss-taking’ occurring between the four comedians as directed at the audience.
Idiots of Ants epitomises typical British warped humour at its best, which was lapped up with great fervour. Maybe it was the massive queue for the drinks in the foyer of the Herald Theatre before the show, but no one appeared to need much warming up as the laughs came quick and fast.
Crowd participation and the multiple local references, peppered amongst the crazy innovative sketches, kept everyone eating out of the palms of their hands and endeared the ‘idiots’ from the get-go.
They even managed to incorporate the latecomers gently into their skit, without hanging anyone out to dry. And the icing on the cake included personalised touches such as using the name of a volunteer from the crowd, Francis – which went down a treat. It gave us the impression that the show was tailored especially for us, rather than a generic show being churned out.
The clever use of AV in combination with theatricality was further enhanced by some awesome technical f*%k-ups that heightened the experience by highlighting their ad-libbing skills, keeping the audience in stitches.
The no-holes-barred themes that included beekeepers, boring dads, doctors, gaming, hen nights, Nazis, serenading lovers and sex, did leave me curious as to what actually goes on in the minds of young British men in their late 20s to early 30s. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Whatever you do don’t be fooled by their boyish innocent looks and the understated British modesty, which they display when the show commences. This is undoubtedly a very a well-conceived show with a series of hilarious innovative sketches strung together, that push the boundaries incrementally as the show progresses. But although it was clearly based on scripted action the ‘idiots’ made much of the show feel like we were voyeurs watching an improv show, complete with all its dangers and uncertainties.
The opening night showed me two things. Firstly that idiots can be clever. And secondly that like all classic war films the good guys go through dangerous moments with plenty of corpses, but they always win in the end.
Idiots of Ants: A Comedy Sketch Show plays at the Herald Theatre until 5 May. Details see NZ International Comedy Festival 2012.
SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Joanna Page