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  • Henry Longstaff

Sketch Book - Rosemary Branch Theatre

Sketch comedy has a new home

Sketch Book presented by Grubby Little Mitts

Stand-up comedians have long had spaces to craft and refine their sets. London is littered with work-in-progress performances and open mic nights that are essential in the creation of well-polished routines but thanks to the Grubby Little Mitts duo, Rosie Nicholls and Sullivan Brown, sketch comedy finally has a place to play too. Sketch Book is a curated monthly event in which sketch and character comedians have a chance to preview new writing, test out ideas and generally have a silly old time in front of a willing and supporting audience - a much-needed addition to the scene.

The award-winning comedic duo Rosie Nicholls and Sullivan Brown host the Monday evening showcase with their signature absurdist and charming style, though free from their traditional Grubby Little Mitts red attire and even dabble in a smidge of crowd-inspired improv to get the proceedings underway (more of this in the next show please). Brown somehow manages to create a cracking riddle after backing himself into an improv-shaped corner before Nichols promptly sends mimed bullets in his direction, the usual shenanigans.

As the various acts are introduced throughout the evening, there is an undeniably welcoming hum from the audience, a collective will for each performer to succeed as they test new material. Even when early drafts of jokes don’t quite stick the landing the room remains warm and supportive, nicely building the confidence of new writing. That being said, the vast majority of the evening is as silly and raucous as you’d expect, with the eight acts offering up a selection of sketches at various stages of development and levels of bonkers. Vidya Divakaran delivers one of the more madcap performances of the evening through their sketch of ‘Slug in a Club,’ which as the name suggests, explores a night out from a slug’s perspective, inclusive of crying in the toilets and doing tequila shots (without the salt of course) - utterly strange, utterly brilliant. 

A few highlights of the evening came from the groups Pie and a Pint and Mudfish. Pie and Pint stormed through a collection of genius sketches to great effect, their deeply satirical take on the infamous Diary of a CEO podcast from Steven Bartlett an obvious crowd pleaser. Mudfish opted for slightly longer form scenes that equally delighted, reminding us of our right to take annual leave when it comes to audience participation. Despite being an evening of pure sketch comedy the curated lineup was packed with variety and hilarity with each performance giving the audience an insight into the packed potential of each act, hopefully fuelling future ticket sales in their direction. An extra cherry on the top for Sketch Book is that the acts are live sketched by an artist in the room, with the one-of-a-kind pieces available for purchase at the end of the show, simply delightful.

There is much to look forward to for Sketch Book, including next month’s showcase which promises an all-female lineup and murmurings of a run at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe is a very exciting prospect. From talking to the performers, it is clear that the world of sketch comedy has been in desperate need of an event like this so comedians can experiment and grow within a supportive environment before constructing their complete shows whilst equally Sketch Book is an opportunity for audiences to find the next big sketch comedians before everyone else. This is a wild and fantastic evening of new and evolving comedic work guaranteed to scratch your funny bone, an event that deserves all the support going forward. 

Performances on the third Monday of the month.

Next showcase on the 18th March - Tickets

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