first night

Durham Revue: Working Title

Lyndsey Fineran reviews the Revue and finds it works.

The start of another Durham year is upon us, along with a new batch of fresh-faced first years out to sample the traditions of our favourite cathedral city. Whether that’s a quaddie in Klute, a scarf-wearing coffee in Saddlers or a remark of “my, isn’t it cold up North?”, the return to Durham brings with it a set of staple customs. And the first few drama offerings of the year are no exception.

Fresh from a summer at the Edinburgh Fringe, and with a number of good reviews under their belt, the Durham Revue are helping to kick off this term’s theatrical helpings with their sketch show, ‘Working Title.’ A Durham custom in their own right, the Revue prove an old friend to Durham veterans and a great starting point for freshers feeling their way into the Durham comedy scene.

And this was the feel of the night itself; a blend of the familiar peppered with freshness. There are a lot of old favourites here: the brilliant astronaut sketch; Tessa Coates’ blood donation nurse; the librarian/doctor mix-up, and of course, the Alan Rickman cameos – to name but a few. And while the show was light on new material, what was there was high on quality. From showing potential buyers round the Cluedo Mansion, to giving an insight into the failings of Jesus as a child (“he hated his first swimming lesson, just walked around on the surface”), to the bestowing of a quest on a bewildered supermarket shopper, the material was well-crafted and imaginative. Ben Whittle’s impromptu burst into song in a supermarket queue after being spurred on by the cashier’s badge of “Ask me about nectar points”, asking the bemused shop-worker all manner of life’s questions (“Why don’t Hogwarts think their students need a primary education?”; “Why are they called steps outside but stairs inside?” - all very valid questions, too) was definitely a highlight and earned rapturous applause from the audience.

The group are inventive, witty and they certainly know their stuff.  And aside from a couple of minor first-night technical slips, the show went smoothly and the group’s experience was evident. So whether you’re a DST regular or a fresher trying to feel out the scene, go and see the Revue, you won’t be disappointed.


15 October 2010

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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