There is something inherently mysterious about the Oxford Revue: big names like Michael Palin and Alan Bennett are bandied around like secret handshakes. For one night only may the public infiltrate the depths of this inner sanctum of comic genius: do not miss it. Breaking with the age-old tradition of the habitual showdown with ‘the other place’, this year Cambridge have taken a hike. So, the show is Oxford dominated, divided into sketches by the Oxford Comedy Society, including stunning performances by a giant apple and a man in a grass suit (what more could one desire) followed by the Revue’s performance of The Lost Laugh. This is situation comedy at its most black and perversely funny. The ostensible plot follows Nelson (Drummond Moir) weedy, disaffected yet talented youth through a series of entanglements with a dead man’s ashes, a kinky priest and an aristocratic seducer. Yes, it all sounds very weird, and well, it is. Scene follows scene at breakneck speed, moving from the grotesque levity of an erotic encounter between Uncle Benjamin and Ms. Seeds to Susan’s gushing speech on the ephemeral nature of human life and the necessity of her boy’s return. Yet, the most memorable comic success is achieved by the numerous lines of sheer ebullient absurdity. Susan (Lauren Steventon) dismisses her son Nelson with the brilliant, “my hands can’t be bound with your umbilical cord” or “did I ever tell you Nelson, that you have your father’s penis?” A production like this really depends upon a strong cast and Jess Hurley and Lauren Steventon play their eccentric female leads with finesse, yet most impressive is Father Joseph who steals the show with his shameless indelicate comments and effusive over-acting. If you have a penchant for the macabre, and like to snicker wickedly at what is not quite politically correct, then the Oxford Revue will welcome you with open arms.
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003