It’s very easy to forget about emerging talent, what with shows such as Britain’s Got Talent that really just slam new faces into the public sphere . They subsequently lead people to believe there is no starting point and that success comes overnight. Realistically, the vast majority of talented people work very hard to get even an ounce of success.
Sketch-comedy duo, In Cahoots, comprises Luke Manning and Paul Raymond, two versatile comic actors who have been improvising together for over four years, also working together on other projects such as short film Ewan Daddy Chiles, directed by Paul and starring Luke. As a preview for their very exciting debut show at the Edinburgh Fringe, they put together a selection of wildly different and hilarious sketches at a series of intimate venues in London.
As the two bounded onstage at Highbury and Islington’s Hen and Chicken’s theatre-bar with an alarming energy, shaking the hands of their spectators, one couldn’t help but be taken aback at how young both Manning and Raymond look. I hold my hands up, my first impressions were of a couple of kids trying their hand at some ‘comedy’ like what they’d seen on the TV after school. It didn’t help that the first sketch was of Raymond crying hysterically in a ‘bathroom’, something I felt I’d seen a hundred times over and seemed to only magnify my prejudice. However as this was drawn out into a father/son role reversal piece, I began to relax and decided that actually, these two were really onto something.
Jumping from one piece straight into another, there wasn’t time to even draw breath as Manning and Raymond thrust a stereotypical modern Essex girl been courted by a 1940s gentleman into our faces, as well as a perfectly incomprehensible native Scot giving a tour guide to a very confused tourist. There’s much to enjoy with In Cahoots and especially as it is obvious they have put a lot of thought into this debut show. An early sketch has a man desperately looking for his pregnant wife in the hospital, which is then returned to at the very end, demonstrating a strong cohesive structure.
As with many comedy sketches, this was thick with racism, albeit in an ironic way (Raymond is obviously not of British origin, though he was born over here). It is done, for the most part, cleverly: Manning stars as a woman working at a job centre who takes Raymond’s ethnic appearance literally, repeatedly mistaking his very British accent and name as something else. Though this smacks quite a bit of Little Britain’s Marjorie Dawes, it still managed to accumulate laughs from the audience.
In Cahoots have the ability to instantly put a crowd at ease – it’s obvious. Even when Manning regularly went out of character and laughed somewhat uncontrollably it worked because everybody was rooting for them. The connection between the two is unmistakably extremely strong as they bounce off one another, creating electricity throughout the room.
In Cahoots will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on August 1 and 25 2013