You’ve got to be very clear about what you’re getting yourself into with A Betrayal of Penguins. This is not highly polished comic storytelling. This is not an opportunity to find out another human being’s unique perspectives on the world. You will leave with no richer an understanding of the world of humanity. The plots of every single sketch are entirely, and almost instantly, unmemorable.
But what you do get from the Penguins is the chance to spend an hour with three guys who are pretty likeable, seem like a lot of fun and get a ten out of ten for effort. And for less than £10 and one hour of your time, that’s pretty difficult to not recommend.
This year’s show started somewhat haltingly, perhaps because I had higher expectations following last year or perhaps because they seemed to be trying too hard. The show comes into its own when they, and the audience, give up on any pretence of a script or coherent narrative and abandon themselves to the chaos and amateurism that is fast becoming their proud hallmark.
This year’s addition of Aaron Heffernan as a fully-fledged member is welcome, although there is the potential for his brand of enthusiastic/hyperactive/borderline psychotic comedy to overshadow the more subtle (well, slightly more subtle) efforts of Ross Dungan and Matthew Smyth.
The Penguins are never going to cause a revolution in modern comedy, but they very clearly enjoy what they do and their enthusiasm is infectious.
PS. I omitted to mention that this year also contained not a single penguin.