“You will never be able to look at Dobby the house-elf in the same way…

Last night I enjoyed watching Keith’s ‘Watchlist’, an hour of sketch comedy at the Space UK venue at Surgeons Hall.

There were plenty of laughs during Watchlist, and even in a few moments where sketches fell flat, the cast was able to bring back the attention of the audience with their energy and stage presence. Arthur Drury exemplified this excellently in almost all of his performances, which included Lucius Malfroy, a bitter game show host, and a fun-loving cowboy.

Stand-out sketches included a spookily accurate impersonation of the ‘liberal’ Jack Whitehall played by the fantastic Patrick O’Connell, a reluctant online A&E consultant played by Isabel Lote, and the recurring appearances of the erratic police officer played by Phoenix Ashworth, who broke into sketches unannounced to wreak havoc. I also enjoyed Keith’s use of shorter sketches which were able to recalibrate any audience members who may have been lost in some of its more complicated premises.

There were many laughs during the show, though I feel it could have benefitted from a more cohesive narrative that would have tied the sketches together in a tangible way so they were easier to follow. I also found it slightly confusing that some of the sketches flowed together while others chose to use snap blackouts. The inconsistency in endings left audiences unsure when one sketch had ended and another had begun.

I have spent much of my Fringe watching some brilliant female comics, and this is what I honestly felt was missing from Keith’s watchlist. It felt extremely male-dominated, both in its physical performance and its judgement of humour (the number of penis jokes was truly mesmerising), and left me wishing that I had seen a better use of Isabel Lote during the show, or perhaps the addition of another female cast member. This shone through most obviously in the sketch about lesbians in the eighteenth century, where an element of the humour was lost due to the fact that one of the parts was played by a man.

Regardless, if you are in Edinburgh I recommend watching Keith’s Watchlist for an hour of silly and fun sketch comedy. However, take this as a warning, after Christian Gale’s haunting performance, you will never be able to look at Dobby the house-elf in the same way.

By Tansy Adam

Keith’s “Watchlist” will continue to perform its Edinburgh Fringe run at 22:20 from the 18th to the 26th of August at theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall.

Photo Credits: Keith and Watchlist_2023