first night

Durham Revue Returner's Show 2014/15

Bethany Jane Saddington samples the delights of the Durham Revue's Edinburgh show.

 The Durham Revue, in their final performance together as the 2014/2015 troop created a truly remarkable feat of comedy.

Despite what appeared to be technical difficulties at the show's inception (although admittedly this was humorous in itself, remedied by Charlotte Whistlecroft’s captivating stage presence), the performance rolled with continuous comedic momentum, which had me laughing from start to finish.

The numerous witty scenarios demonstrated clear innovation and were evidently a result of clever and confident writers. I was immediately spellbound by the group’s originality, from both the intentional punch lines to the accidental unsnapping of David Knowles braces in the opening balletic dance sequence.

The minimalistic staging provided an ideal platform for the performances, showcasing the impeccable characterisation of each actor. In addition to performing classic sketches, such as the double date with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, where notably Abigail Weinstock should be commended for her flawless indignant reactions, it was refreshing to see new, sharp ideas, in addition to reworked pieces.

From the hilariously uncharismatic Willy Wonka played by David Knowles, and the wonders of his product dispatch room, to the unexpectedly obliging prisoner awaiting execution portrayed by the dynamic Andrew Shires, I was roaring with laughter. Ambika Mod’s impressive ability to filter between energetic roles and deadpan facial expressions added a fantastic contrast to the general fluidity of the performance, with Abigail Weinstock also cleverly making the most of natural pauses for comedic value.

In some instances the material was daring and potentially offensive. However, its provocative nature was incredibly well received by the audience. It was hysterical to see the group’s own awareness of the tongue-and-cheek subtext as they continuously stifled nervous laughter. Furthermore, it was admirable to see the female comedians mock gender stereotypes and produce their own jovial social commentary in the titanic sketch. ‘Lifeboat he says! Kitchen he means!’

I must give praise to Matt Kemp - a masculine, strapping young man adorned with a rather fetching pigtail wig within the final sketch for holding his own against the seasoned professionals where there was irrefutable chemistry.

While I admit that I am rather sad to see the parting of such an undeniably gifted group of individuals, I have no doubt that the remaining members will ensure the Revue’s future success. 

18 October 2015

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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