Venue: Jam on a Thursday

Well, then, yes, there’s clearly something to be said about being on telly… ‘Peppatits’ from Jessica Hynes and Julia Davis (‘Spaced’, ‘Nighty Night’ et al) attracts the biggest Jam audience yet. The cheesecake layers of the main house are crowded. There’s a certain amount of screeching and, after it all, there’s talk of mobbing the stage door. Does this happen when Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory are in the house? I doubt it – well, not the screeching, anyhow. That’s no reflection on SATTF, just a reflection on the ‘telly factor’.In this case, we get Hynes and Davis sitting on chairs, doing their understated comedy shtick as if on radio, each pair of characters seemingly picked at random from a list and interspersed with sometimes terrifying choices of music (Gary Numan etc). There’s some great, impeccably observed stuff in here, from the middle-class housewives taking shelter from married life in a tent (and picking up a Turkish passer-by) to blokes talking about their variously dodgy sex lives and – a personal favourite – how to make ‘a stew of bitterness’ from rancid liver and bendy carrots. It all verges on the unspeakable at times and is all the better for it. It’s Peter Cook and Dudley Moore but without the no-holds-barred anarchy of Derek and Clive. They finish with a slightly unnerving routine about a pathological landlord and some sliding plastic partitions – and get a suitably rousing response that even seems to surprise them. Though not perhaps as much as the people begging them for photos out in the foyer afterwards.


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