Student housing never fails to be less than satisfactory, as I was to be reminded during the brief chat I held with an audience member before the show, wherein I learned that he had moved into my old flat and was currently undergoing to same battle with sentient mould that I had previously undertaken. Fortunately, the both of us had a short but sweet (and most importantly of all, entertaining) show provided by the Warwick Comedy Society: Telly Time.
The premise of the show was quite simple; a series of sketches written and performed by members of the Warwick Comedy Society connected by a (seemingly) unconvoluted premise. A family, comprising of a Mother (played by Indigo Douglas) and Father (played by Ernest Nabialek), their children, Timmy (Caitlyn Cassidy) and Margaret (Julia Bobowska) and last, though certainly not least, the ageing matriarch of the family, Nana (played by Elizabeth Penwill), get together and decide to watch some T.V. If any of you have watched the inter-dimensional cable episodes of Rick and Morty, the premise will probably be familiar to you. Each sketch, punctuated by recordings of increasingly surreal commercials, represented a different television show.
These sketches included hilarious morbid reimagining’s of the Pinocchio fable and the children’s story ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ that toyed with the themes of cult behaviour, human sacrifice and existential nihilism-although it was all much more amusing than I’m making it sound! The whole cast demonstrated excellent comic timing, playing off one another with masterful skill. The energy of the show admittedly started slow but rapidly picked up pace and stayed high for the rest of the production, so much so that I could not stop chuckling as they delivered punchline after punchline, such as: What would someone do if they accidentally turned their penis into a knife?” and “the true nonce was inside you all along” had me rolling in the aisles. If you want to understand the context behind these lines then, please, go see the show for yourself.
An amusing, surreal, self-aware and surprisingly sinister production
The best part of the show, in my opinion, was the overarching narrative that tied all these sketches together: the family. From the very beginning, the cast presented us with a wonderful entertaining group of characters. Indigo played the Mother was astonishing range, gradually shifting from a catty housewife into a psychopathic master manipulator, who devises a plot to kill her own Mother to get her hands on the old dear’s money and house and… fix all the doorknobs? It’s enough to make Edgar Allen Poe turn pale with terror, but Indigo manages to keep the audience engaged and entertained throughout all her scenes. Ernest provided the perfect comic foil in her henpecked, bumbling and sex starved husband who flitted between desperately trying to rekindle the passion in his marriage and begging his wife to get her Mother to “stop touching me”-all while delivering some of the funniest lines in the show.
And, since we’ve mentioned the old sex pest, the Grandmother of the family, it would be a crime to not congratulate Elizabeth for her brilliant, energised and witty performance as the horny matriarch. Caitlyn Cassidy also deserves praise for her side-splitting portrayal of both the psychotic youngest child in the family, Timmy, as well as her performance as a decidedly meta (and decidedly dodgy) Police Officer. And last, but certainly not- Oh, hang on, I’ve already used that phrase, haven’t I? Well, regardless, a standing ovation should be offered to Julia for her portrayal of “the b*tch” (her Mother’s words, not mine), in the anxiety-ridden teenager, Margaret. She had brilliant comic timing and presented the audience with some bitingly savage back and forth with Indigo, whilst also providing a reluctant and grumpy voice of reason to contrast with the insane antics of the rest of the family.
Overall, aside from some rather minor technical hiccups, ‘Telly Time’ was an amusing, surreal, self-aware and surprisingly sinister production, complete with an excellent (though by no means complete) sample of some of the talent that the Warwick Comedy Society has to offer this university. A must see!