Warwick Comedy Soc ‘Revue’ Review

There are two things which, if not fulfilled, can and often do render a comedy night stagnant; the first is keeping the audience on side – having them laugh with you and not for you – and the second is originality. Fortunately, it seems that Warwick Revue’s latest comedy escapade, 2000 and Pun: A Sketch Odyssey, managed to achieve both of these things.

The show, which took place at Robins’ Well pub in Leamington on Wednesday 11th March, was divided into an hour of sketches and an hour of stand-up. Cast members, all from Revue, Warwick’s comedy performance group, took to the stage in turn to perform short sketches they had written. The group had ‘spent the whole term working towards the show writing and trying out sketches’, then compiled the best ones into a ‘greatest hits’ set-list, according to the society’s President, Florrie Sheehan. They’ve had a lot of practise having performed at such prestigious events as the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it shows; very few of the skits were misses.

The satire in the sketches was a mix between the nuanced and the silly, dealing with such important themes as cultural attitudes, gender relations and what the world would be like if David Cameron’s head was a loaf of bread. Generally speaking, there was enough variety to accommodate different tastes – personally, being a lover of puns, I was hooked from the opening and even the title, but there was also slapstick, innuendo, witticism, parody and surrealism. Like all the best sketch shows, this wasn’t a one trick pony, but rather more like a polymath horse. The stand-up wasn’t as interesting to me, but I found plenty of other audience members who felt the opposite way.

As for the stand-up, I have seen awkwardness and forced laughter kill the sets of many up-and-coming stand-ups on the circuit, so the natural flow of the performance felt like a welcome relief. The occasional problems with technology – music being played at the wrong time, microphone feedback – were so composedly shrugged off that one might have thought they were an integrated part of the act rather than mistakes.  The brilliant double-act comperes, Joanne Sarginson and Kat Davidson, kept the mood light and lively in between acts. Whilst some of the jokes certainly seemed to be played for shock value, by the halfway point I was able to dispel that usual front-row-audience fear of being picked on. The audience wasn’t the enemy; indeed, for the most part, the humour was self-deprecatory, with none of the brazen hostility that plagues much of modern satire. The show certainly wasn’t as polished as some; but this served to increase the appeal rather than diminish it – it felt raw rather than contrived.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of 2000 and Pun and I look forward to catching whatever the group comes up with next!


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