Daphne (Phil Wang, Jason Forbes and George Fouracres) have had a great deal of success, most notably with a nomination for Best Newcomer at last year's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. As soon as they burst onto the stage, it's clear they're charismatic, polished (in the way that appears to be totally unpolished), energetic and strong performers.
This, as the name of course suggests, is their second show – and second shows carry the notorious challenge of living up to the first. Sketch is ubiquitous on the Fringe and to stand out, a show must offer something really very special, especially considering how many are available for free. For me, Daphne's Second Show didn't achieve this, though the performers have good comic skills and there are some creative ideas in the writing.
The three each have their own contrasting styles, yet complement each other nicely, ensuring they continually engage with the audience on all three sides of the thrust stage. The show comprises a variety of short and longer form sketches, with a number of call back skits thrown in the mix. The trio’s gag style is versatile, with a mix of climatic punchlines, visual gags, and slightly surreal endings; on more than one occasion they prove themselves to be talented singers with a neat line in three-part harmonies.
Audience reaction on this evening was quite mixed; it's not the kind of show that people love or hate, rather the kind of show that some love and some just quite like. I fell into the latter category: the sketches were inventive and amusing, but the writing in particular was not the level of funny and interesting that would warrant four or five stars. But it's very easy to imagine them doing so with slightly different material (and less hysteria and shrieking, which became a little tedious).
Nevertheless, Phil, Jason and George are a likeable, quirky, talented trio. Daphne's Second Show is in the main well executed and while I didn't find it to be great, I did find it to be good.