Oxford Revue: ‘Triptych’ (★★★★)
The week before I arrived at the Fringe, my mother, passing through Edinburgh on the way to her sister’s, managed to catch a few shows. One of these was ‘Triptych’, the latest offering from the Oxford Revue. She sent me a quick Whatsapp afterwards: “Oxford Revue shocking I walked out. Xxx”. Naturally, I had to see it. The room was packed with middle aged, cardigan wearing women rather like dear mum – clearly word hadn’t got round. After a cursory introduction, the first sketch: I won’t ruin it, but from then on, for me the show was worth every penny – if only to see the look of shock on anyone expecting feel-good, easy going comedy. With monologues exploring the darker sides of laddishness, this ‘anti-sketch show’ made for an entertaining, albeit uncomfortable hour. Just don’t go with your mum.
‘Studio 9’ (★★★★★)
This two man show from Cambridge Footlights regulars Will Hall and Leo Reich must rank amongst the best sketch comedy offerings this year. It’s a shame that the premise of the show – a pilot recording of their sketch show (in the most cramped venue – sorry, ‘studio’ – available to them) – is just a fiction: superbly crafted and impeccably executed, the show weaves together excellent stand alone sketches whilst satirising the inanities of ‘showbiz’, sketch shows…and themselves.
Edinburgh Revue (★)
Edinburgh University alumni include some of the greatest writers and thinkers ever to have lived: from Conan Doyle to Darwin, pretty much every field is represented. The exception is probably comedy, and on this showing it’s not hard to see why. Having trekked 20 minutes to get to a pub in what felt like the furthermost reaches of Perthshire, we joined the audience of six to witness an extraordinary spectacle: I can now say with full confidence that there is no greater agony than unfunny comedy. If I were being kind, I’d say the cast were undermined by their tendency to corpse at crucial moments, but that would wrongly suggest that these sketches had some kind of vitality about them. Following mum’s example, I walked out.