Potentially as far removed stylistically from Nick Helm as you could imagine, Richard Bond, Edward Eales-White, William Hartley and writer Dominic Stone are the brains behind multi-coloured sketch show troupe Clever Peter. Performing since 2008, their original blend of witty yet wonderfully silly sketches have won them sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, high praise from newspapers including The Guardian and The Telegraph and,
perhaps their crowning achievement thus far, a spot on George Zielinski’s top acts at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2012.
The Best of Clever Peter
Arriving at Embrace Arts centre near Leicester University on a bitterly cold February evening, I must admit to being less than optimistic about Clever Peter. Although the act themselves were a complete unknown to me, my experiences of sketch show comedy in the past hadn’t been particularly favourable, and after walking into a sparsely populated venue (around six other hardy souls had braved the snow and ice to turn up at Embrace) I was prepared for an hour of uncomfortable silences and impatient glances towards the exit doors.
How refreshing it was then, that Clever Peter turned up. Unperturbed by the low turnout (in fact, they seemed to revel in it) the three comics donned characteristic blue, red and yellow jumpers and got on with producing consistently funny sketches. The hour seemed to fly by as the trio effortlessly moved from sketch to sketch, seamlessly shifting between characters and efficiently utilising props in a performance that had the audience utterly engrossed.
As with most sketch shows some characters reappeared during the duration of the performance and, to my pleasant surprise, these were ones I was hoping to see again. Credit must go to Clever Peter for doing their homework and deciding which sketches had enough legs to develop and which ones were best served being played out individually.
The trio’s infectious enthusiasm saturated the room and despite occasional PA mishaps and forgotten lines, these were laughed off as the show motored on. The fantastic chemistry within the group was also great to see, and really lifted the atmosphere in what was a cacophonous Embrace Arts studio.
2012 is set to be a big year for Clever Peter, with a sketch show series on Radio 4 soon to be broadcast and further tour dates confirmed, which can be viewed on their website. Given this performance, you’d be stupid to miss Clever Peter.