Comedy trio Pelican served an ace with this breathless, hilarious tennis-themed show.

The group have earned a reputation on the Fringe scene for their madcap plotlines and carefully crafted physical theatre, and their new production followed that same winning formula. It revolved around a scandal within the International Tennis Federation, with cartoonishly malevolent boss Dean Chicken at the heart of the corruption.

As storyboards go it was about as convincing as your average Scooby-Do episode – but that’s beside the point. The plot is merely a vehicle for Pelican’s inventive sketches, as well as allowing them to send up the conventions and clichés of cheesy detective dramas.

One particularly memorable scene arrived when Dean Chicken imprisoned a player who had broken into the federation headquarters. The player was tied to the kind of turning pillar you might see in an adventure film.

The hostage delivered a painfully protracted monologue about the power of tennis, his speech halted every time his back is turned to the audience. “Tennis is a…pirouette” he tells an increasingly impatient Chicken. Pelican are at their brilliant best when pointing out the logistical problems behind such familiar movie tropes.

The trio also went out of their way to involve the audience – including the three young children sat in the front row. Less than five minutes into the show and crowd members were batting back a tennis ball on a long stick, engaged in a match with the white-clad doubles team on stage.

Pelican proved they can do improvisation, too. Sam Grabiner – an exceptional, magnetic comic talent – had almost as much fun as his audience while playing a cracked old tennis coach, forensically surveying the reactions of the crowd.

He seized upon every ripple of laughter and accidental cough until the room was in absolute raptures. There was plenty more where that came from. A smash hit.