The House of Nostril[author-post-rating] (4/5 Stars)

Casual Violence’s wonderful show, The House of Nostril, is a macabre and very silly treat. The cast of five bounce about the stage as a huge variety of characters, gurning and shrieking, and mostly being very, very funny. The House of Nostril, we are told, is not made up of very nice people. In fact, they make the Westboro Baptist Church look balanced and articulate. Having set up its premise, Casaul Violence takes us deep into its dark and twisted world to tell us a story, of sorts.

The ludicrous narrative involves a plot against Amnesty International, some rather effective voodoo dolls and – of course – some Dickensian chimney sweeps, complete with comedy Cockney accents. It’s basically just five guys pissing about on stage – but somehow it works. As the cast make fun of each other for corpsing, try to make each other laugh and caper about being jolly silly, it’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. It could so easily have descended into self-indulgent nonsense, but Casual Violence knows what it’s doing. These five are whip-smart comic performers, throwing everything they’ve got into their show, and while it may be nonsense, it’s very astute nonsense.

Some parts of it are unsurprisingly better than others: some slapstick with a jug of cream gets a bit tired quite quickly, and some parts of the plot itself are best glossed over. But the hilariously sarcastic scene-setting slide-show, and some genuinely brilliant comic timing and ad libbing keeps the show powering on. It gets a bit too shouty and hysterical at times – especially in such a very small space – but is mostly pitched just right; yes it’s manic but it’s also very funny.

Definitely one to catch if you can, so long as you like your humour black and ridiculous. After all, who doesn’t want to be given a Christmas present with the words “You’ve brought this on yourself?”

The House of Nostril is at Pleasance Courtyard until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit the EdFringe website