Minor Delays

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 13 Aug 2015

A recurring sketch in Minor Delays' fulsome offering of comic delights concerns a precocious seven-year-old, winding up a teacher to exasperation. Such precocity is evident in the threesome themselves, whose show is slick, funny and inhabits a world of its own.

Their performance is stripped-back, as they face the audience throughout. This allows the pain and confusion their characters embody to be relayed directly, and it's a smart piece of theatricality that gives them a signature look. Sketch comedy like this works only if it is economical, and the skill is in knowing at what point to begin and end a skit. In some cases here joining the story late means punchlines undercut our assumptions, while in others it evidences awareness of how little set-up is needed for comedy to work.

The 'minor' in the trio's name signals their interest in the embarrassing trivialities of life, and they repeatedly mine characters' awkwardness at trying to say and do the right thing. There is also thoughtful melancholy to some scenes, but when this becomes more macabre it is less convincing; the performers simply seem too nice.

Sometimes characters in sketch comedy seem to function only for the joke at hand, but here there are hints at living backstories that suggests they breathe and feel. It is in these moments that the maturity of the writing shines. So this is a funny show that stays with you, and you might leave yearning to know the fates of a lonely librarian, a couple who've recently begun swinging, and a man crying in a toilet.