★★★★☆

Student comedy can be notoriously hit and miss – the cliché of the profoundly unfunny and slightly self centred stand up comedian is well worn in the 21st century. Cherwell is happy to relate that this term’s Revue show is not only a rip-roaringly hilarious night out, but manages to be fresh and bold with a relatively traditional form.

Bordering on the surreal, the sketches veer (occasionally haphazardly) through a diverse and striking array of comedic targets. There is a lack of the overarching, unifying narrative that has typified some of the Revue’s more ‘concept’ comedy in recent years, but this is not detrimental to Heavy Petting as a show. The lack of blackouts – which sometimes seem to demand applause or laughter from an expectant audience – make the sketches flow together much more naturally, linked by incidental music and very earnest laughter from the crowd.

This natural or organic style of sketch comedy really leaves room for the comedians to revel in their stage presences. The regular and forced guffaws of Jack Chisnall’s comedian persona making for a consistent thread in between the sketches – occasionally breaking the fourth wall in ways that stay just on the right side of the ‘edgy’ ‘post modern’ comedic voice. Alexander Fox also manages to summon forth a bizarre but hilarious self parody – desperately seeking the friendship of (and physical intimacy with) the audience.

Its at this point that I come to something of a dilemma as a reviewer. When I review a play, I can pad out a fair proportion of my word count with a synopsis of the events of the drama. If I were to do this with Heavy Petting, I’d basically spoil the majority of the jokes – it is part of the intrinsic nature of comedy, that like a magic trick, it relies on revelation and novelty. So, look away now if you don’t want to have one of the funnier sketches spoiled.

Still here? My highlight of this show was the phenomenal scandi-noir inspired Swedish version of Skins – entitled Skieoans [sic] where a group of teenagers bickered over twiglets and their love lives – made all the funnier by the stunningly shoddy accents on show, accompanied by apologetic shrugs as various comedians careered into cockney. Other highlights included Chesca Forristal’s impeccable portrayal of an alien, and Dom O’Keefe’s plagiarist Danny Dyer (we did warn you about spoilers!).

For fear of ruining the show for people that haven’t seen in yet, no more spoilers will be aired, but we strongly urge you to get a ticket for this sharp, 60-minute foray into a return to forms (sketch) for the Revue!