Buttery Brown Monk at Leicester Square Theatre
Buttery Brown Monk are a trio of sketch show comedians who had tonight’s sold-out crowd in stitches. Each member of the troupe brought something unique to the fold and were amazingly versatile, switching characters and roles with consummate ease throughout an hour-long show.
The group’s name is a composite of their surnames which, when put together, conjures up a surreal image. This seems typical of their method of writing, which draws on a broad palette of inspiration to produce some of the most considered material you’re likely to see at fringe level. The tone shifts seamlessly from whimsical and absurd to politically astute without dropping a gear, and they’re able to make shrewd observations without overtly lecturing the audience with an impressive feat of consistent jokes.
They open the show with a board room discussion, brainstorming ideas for a Christmas advert for John Lewis. The suggestions become more absurd and culminate in the idea of flying drones to a third world nation to deliver presents – a tragic truism of sorts. When somebody proposes that they give the money straight to charity without advertising their wares, they are immediately reprimanded with scorn.
Not all of the sketches are trying to be subversive though; the more slapstick routines hit the funny bone every time and complement their other material brilliantly. There is a skit with two counter girls at Greggs who break into a song and dance routine, which could have been a League of Gentleman outtake. Another musical number reimagines Russell Crowe’s audition for Les Miserables, and John and Yoko’s domestic argument drew the biggest belly laughs of the evening.
There is a fantastic sketch set in a religious boot camp where the motto is to “pray the gay away”. In a cheeky wink to Kenneth Williams, the team mock the absurdity of moralising conservatives and turn the scenario into a Bacchanalian utopia, much to the chagrin of the gay boot camp preacher.
The set reaches a stunning finale with a musical ode to Jeremy Kyle. In an age of poverty porn and working class scapegoating, it is refreshing to see people bring him to task. Portraying Kyle as a Satanic cannibal might sound unsubtle but they made it work with a show tune accompaniment that could be expanded into a full blown production in itself. For unadulterated laughter and a sure-fire good night out, catch Buttery Brown Monk at the London Sketch Comedy Festival in May.
Buttery Brown Monk were on at Leicester Square Theatre until 28th March 2015, for further information about future events visit here.