Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Topical and observational sketch comedy with a nice sense of the surreal and absurd.
Given that the line-up is completely different each year, fresh-faced, energetic comedy is almost guaranteed from this group of University of Leeds students. That’s again the case this year as a packed Just the Tonic Caves was treated to an hour of the surreal and the absurd, with some darned-good political humour lobbed in to keep the old crusties like me amused.
This year’s quintet sees Will Sidl, Maddie Gray, the piercing eyes of Stephen Rainbird, Nancy Salt and Emre Kose whisk through sketches often involving some clever word play but with welcome diversions into intriguing mime and an amusing running “voice-over” gag about a missing person. We’ve a play on the dating game with a jealous driving instructor, a “poo on the landing” sketch with a neat twist and a very different take on that hackneyed old-movie “girl tied to a railway line” scenario. Given the volume of material this high intensity group threw out, it was hardly surprising that one or two vignettes missed the target but it wasn’t by much and didn’t dim the laughter volume level for long.
Never afraid to use silence, their expressive faces, silly costumes, dead pan delivery and acute sense of the down-right daft are the hallmarks of a well-drilled group with an excellent sense of comic timing. Perhaps hanging the show together on something a little stronger than the aforementioned missing person gag might have provided more structure and some of the scripting could have been a bit tighter in terms of the lead in to the punch line but these are minor quibbles with what was an engaging and fun set.
Concluding with a couple of Brexit gags that hit the nail right on the head, this was an hour of good sketch comedy from a young quintet with bags of potential. Thoroughly recommended for anyone with a sense of humour.