Minor Delays’ minimalist staging complements the wordplay of their sketch comedy beautifully. At all times, the three cast members face forwards in a row, the simplicity of this direction preventing any distraction, whilst augmenting the humour with a raising of the eyebrows or a head tilt. The company, dressed uniformly in pale blue shirts, reject traditional sceneography in favour of lightning wit.
Minor Delays, whose members’ credentials include stints as Tealights and Footlights presidents, bring their surreal show to Gilded Balloon, following a highly acclaimed run in 2014. With accreditations such as these, you know you’re in safe hands. Despite the relatively short life of the production, Minor Delays without question unflinchingly holds its own against more famous names at the Fringe. Now lacking the string quartet that accompanied earlier shows, but upping the dexterity of the performance, Minor Delays finds the humour in the darker things in life.
The show has a middle class angst to it which is never really itself critiqued and occasionally feels a little pompous. A clueless student protester forms the subject of one skit, whilst a self-service checkout screams, “YOU ARE POOR!” at an unsuspecting customer later in the show. However, the fast-paced nature means that a new topic is always around the corner. Recurring sketches are built up as the show moves on; seven year old Graham is a highlight who made his first appearance at the Fringe last year, whilst subjects ranging from the domestic to the macabre are brought into the mix at various points.
Minor Delays makes sketch comedy look effortless. There isn’t a weak link in the cast; their individual performances are strong but together they’re outstanding. In an hour they rattle through perhaps 30 scenes with astonishing precision. A piercing bell rings in the next layer in this gift of a production and the laughter begins again.
Minor Delays is playing at Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) until 30 August (no performance on 17) as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information, visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.