Murderous children, strange addictions, creepy landlords and even creepier tenants all take centre stage as sketch group The Jest come to The Warren.

The five-piece take straighforward modern scenarios – a primary school drugs awareness event, a doctor talking with his patient, a pop star rehearsing – and give them a surreal and subversive twist.

They have previously appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama show, which showcases established and up-and-coming sketch acts.

The material may raise eyebrows among the audience, but the weirder the subject matter, the better the group work together.

There is some level of inconsistency in the writing and, like any sketch show, some are funnier than others.

Some punchlines seem to get buried in the frantic pace, which demands full and quite intense concentration.

And a couple of sketches are so dark that they elicit more nervous laughter than anything else.

But it is still a deeply funny show, and the five performers have fantastic stage presence and seemingly relentless energy.

At times The Jest are also pleasingly topical, and a sketch about NHS privatisation left me laughing hours later at the memory.

It’s bizarre, brilliant and utterly hilarious – and watch out for Maggie Smith.

Four stars