Inside No 9 proved last night that there is seemingly no such thing as a limitation for Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. After last week’s Sardines used limited spacing and staging, A Quiet Night In utilised limitations in sound with minimal dialogue used to pay homage to silent, slapstick comedy. However, as befitting the partnership, the content was far more macabre, involving the attempted robbery of a house.
As in Sardines, location is exceptionally important here. The large, floor to ceiling windows of the house simultaneously reflecting the wealth of the inhabitants and also offering laughs from a seemingly unavoidable motion-controlled light. These windows and indeed, the open plan space also throw up more limitations as without careful consideration everyone can be seen – a dangerous predicament for the would-be burglars played by Shearsmith and Pemberton. Their communications are silent, relying on viewers to pay constant attention to them at all times (no tweeting during this show, but afterwards is fair game!).
It does ask for full engagement on the part of the viewer, but isn’t that the point of television? Does anybody really write a television show (or film, for that matter) and calculate moments where their audience can and should stop paying attention? I’d hope not. In this case at least, you are rewarded for your engagement by the programme being saturated with jokes and clever details for the full 30 minutes. Even the involvement of Oona Chaplin suggests a desire to pay attention to all possible details and use clever references rather than just name-checking previous films/television programmes.
There was only one joke within it that fell a little flat for me, but the rest was so utterly engaging, laugh out loud funny and inventive it is easily forgivable. With the number of jokes, to have just one not quite be to your taste is nothing at all to complain about. What is also great is to see other actors fully embracing the vision of the writers, particularly Kayvan Novak, who thanks to Phonejacker is perhaps most well known for his voice abandoning it and selling the performance easily. I must also offer huge praise for Christian Henson’s music, which given the lack of dialogue could easily have become too intrusive, but instead allowed the action to take place – enhancing it rather than offering a distraction.
So, with that said, another two thumbs up from me and eagerly awaiting next week’s which I have been promised is a particularly dark outing, starring Gemma Arterton.