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clever peter press 2014

Clever Peter – The Dreams Factory review

Pleasance Courtyard

By Ben Williams
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‘Ideas Shower’, ‘Fun Tunnel’, ‘Advergasm’. Clever Peter have obviously had a lot of fun coming up with mindless jargon for their latest sketch show, set in the murky world of advertising. ‘The Dreams Factory’ focuses on three ‘creative’ professionals brainstorming campaign ideas for major companies. Each proposal is then realised as narrative driven skits. It’s a shame, then, that the trio’s own brainstorming sessions haven’t resulted in many smart sketch ideas.

The troupe’s framework is a neat idea but it makes for a charmless hour. Their ad execs are accurately twattish so it’s difficult to be swept up in their stupid ideas. Plus, we’ve all heard jokes parodying meaningless corporate buzzwords (see ‘Twenty Twelve’) and Clever Peter don’t bring anything new, or particularly funny, to the table.

The sketches themselves are largely lacklustre. A pastiche of estate agents features exactly the jokes you’d expect, a game show spoof takes a predictably puerile turn and a recurring story about a working class rat’s job at a milking factory has more tragic moments than witty lines.

There’s an irresistible energy to William Hartley, Edward Eales-White and Richard Bond’s performances, though. They hurtle across the stage with a childlike gusto. A lot of thought has gone in to the show’s structure, too: skits smoothly cascade into one another and the show’s conclusion neatly ties together the recurring characters.

‘The Dreams Factory’ is not quite a nightmare, but Clever Peter’s imaginings are just a bit dull. They’re the kind of dreams where you wake up thinking ‘I could’ve dreamt anything, and I dreamt that?’ Not-So-Clever Peter, this time around.

‘Clever Peter – The Dreams Factory’ is at the Pleasance Courtyard, 5.45pm

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