Sideshow Review

What Are The Chances!

By Mark

Fans of eighties sketch comedy shows rejoice! For Les Dennis does return, and in a movie. Perhaps, most recently, best remembered for his star turn in a 2005 episode of Extras, here he takes the lead.

Dennis is Stuart Pendrick, aka The Great Stupendo, a medium or psychic, you know the sort, the ones who claim to be able to talk to dead people and know all about your life and tell you about your future.

As we see him at his latest gig, some 30 people in a theatre in some small town, he correctly guesses a number from an audience member and then starts speaking to the dead.

This doesn’t go so well though and his agent Gerald, Anthony Head (“Ted Lasso (TV)”, “Buffy (TV)”), is forced to face the angry audience after Pendrick tells an old lady that her now deceased husband was into felching, amongst other things.

Pendrick believes his powers are real, no-one else appears to, including Eva, April Pearson (“Casualty (TV)”, “Skins (TV)”), the woman who’s got a bone to pick with him.

As Pendrick makes his way home he is followed by Eva and her inept assistant Dom, Nathan Clarke (“ Alex Rider (TV) “, “Tyrant (TV)”), who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic and doesn’t have much going on upstairs.

They break into Pendricks house whilst he’s asleep. Dom believes it’s to look for money, but really, Eva has another reason. As the evening plays out, Dom begins to believe Pendrick has real powers and gets more and more scared.

When Pendrick, tied to a chair, falls down the stairs, the pair believe he’s dead, stick him in the boot of his car and drive to a nearby cliff edge, to make it look like suicide.

However, Pendrick is not dead and the trio wind up on the edge of the cliff as the sun rises. Pendrick pleading for his life, Eva wanting him to admit he’s a fraud and Dom worried about a curse Pendrick put on him. And then things come to a head, literally.

Sideshow is written, directed and edited by Adam Oldroyd (“Andy’s Aquatic Adventures (TV)”, “Dreamflight (TV)”).

Sideshow is very British, in both its humour and the look of the movie. For the first 30 minutes or so, it also zips along nicely and there are some genuinely funny moments, mostly involving Dennis who plays his part well.

However, after this, and particularly in the middle third, the movie gets bogged down. It slows to a crawl and is unable to pick itself back up again. The jokes are thin and the ongoing joke about Dom being a bit dim and scared starts to grate.

The ongoing story, which is revealed at the end, is glaringly obvious, such that I was more surprised there was a reveal at the end, it being so obvious and all.

Sideshow isn’t the funniest thing you’ll see, or the movie with the best effects, but for a low-ish budget movie, it has its moments.

Originally published at



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