first night

That Comedy Show

Melissa Tutesigensi experiences a variety show from the Durham Comedy Collaborative.

 Opening any comedy show with stand-up may immediately make the audience feel that they are in for a rough ride, yet ‘That Comedy Show’ proved not to be the case. After an enthusiastic welcome from the host Adam Murphy, the audience were treated to the musings of Stefan Arridge, Chris Beirne and Asa Cooper Stickland. Collectively delivering a mixture of self-deprecating and somewhat apologetic comedy, they discussed, amongst other things, the thoughts of distracted white supremacists and the scruffiness of Jeremy Corbyn. At times sounding like the voice of a disaffected youth (Asa’s thoughts on the hypocrisy of internet climate change campaigners, how by using a computer to deliver their message they are no better than vegetarians carving ‘animal rights’ in animal flesh), the stand-up was effective and entertaining, which if you’re not a comedy connoisseur, was nothing like the Michael McIntyre caricature you might expect. 

True to the essence of ‘That Comedy Show’s’ intention to showcase an array of comedy styles, the audience also experienced the sketches of ‘Just Deserts’. The three piece comedy group gave the evening a new tempo, with one of the most memorable sketches being a conversation Joseph has with God about Mary’s immaculate conception. The movement on stage was seamless with the transitions between each scene cleverly marked with a directors’ cut board. The audience got a sense of the variety of ideas the group has to offer- ranging from pre-date advice to wasp charming attempts. As a testament to the quality of writing of each sketch, it was only after the show ended that you could imagine the original thought process. The best writing makes you forget the initial lines of the page and although at times the actors broke the fourth wall by referring to the world outside the scene (adding to the comedic effect), it was easy to be immersed in the fluidity of the group. They delivered an amalgam of brilliantly written and played sketches worthy of much more than the modest ‘thank you to the audience’ given at the end of their set.

The night ended with the enthusiastic ‘Shellshock’ who provided sketches in response to the audience directed themes of coffee house scenarios, Snoop Dog moving all of the Penguins to the North Pole and Zoro getting naked to Vladimir Putin. True to the style of improvised comedy, this was a chance for the audience to interact with the comedians and whilst the comedians themselves were magnificent, the success of a scene was shared between the comedian and the audience.

Overall from this night alone, it is evident that Durham has a wealth of comedic talent in such a variety that anyone tempted can get involved. More than just offering some comic relief to end the first week if Michaelmas Term, the show was enough to encourage budding actors, comedians and writers to participate in Durham’s ever growing comedy scene. With copious amounts of appreciative laughter and applause ‘That Comedy Show’ not only fulfilled its aim in celebrating the diversity in comedic styles but it may have even convinced some of those indifferent to the art. That is, some who may have started by laughing at the comedians, ended up laughing with them.

19 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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