“A fantastic job, with good writing, great character work and strong voice modulation making the whole show stellar…

“Please tell me! Whatever it is, I won’t stop loving you!”

“I’ve got the clap!” *Lights off*

The Durham Revue, established in 1974 as Durham University’s premier sketch comedy troupe hosted their Comedyfest show on 10 February, and it was a night of laughs, giggles, and wacky storytelling!

The opening act for the show was from the The Leeds Tealights from the University of Leeds, who presented an assortment of funny sketches. The introduction of the troupe was witty, with stretching, humourous voice-overs in the background. What stood out in their sketches was the final twist, which was tongue-in-cheek and dark in nature. They played along with many different scenarios: Mr Bean in a game show, a parody of Scooby Doo (which was also done by The Durham Revue; they do love Scooby Doo a lot!), Sigmund Freud summoned to a parent-teacher meeting, the first person to sit on a chair backwards, a burglars anonymous meeting and dentists gargling, all with a pinch of black comedy that impressed the audience.

Next in line was Cambridge Footlights from the University of Cambridge with their sketches focusing more on the slapstick comedy and a more meta commentary angle. They had quite a few ingenious stories to tell – the struggles of calling emergency helpline numbers, a Roman era warrior thrown into a gen-z world, a parody of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, a music band trying to disarm a bomb and so much more. While the ideas were great, some of the gags did fall flat and went on for too long. Nevertheless, it was a good showcase of creativity.

The acts were interspersed with compering from Jack Simmonds and Teagan Booker, including a hilarious roller-skating entry and while the lines and crowd work component from the emcees were good, it would have benefitted by providing the audience members with mics as a few dialogues were inaudible. After a short break, the stage was set for The Durham Revue to entertain the audience with their wacky sketches, which were nothing short of brilliant.

Each comedian had great lines to introduce themselves – a good icebreaker for what followed. A football commentary on a couple’s argument, an elderly woman starting a marijuana farm, a pandora’s box gag that was brought back later, a parody of ASMR channels (with an extremely strong microphone!), voice-over auditions with an adult film maker, parodies of Romeo & Juliet, Harry Potter, Deal or No Deal, Bugsy Malone, and Brian Cox were just a few of the sketches and they were all done extremely well. Excellent use of lighting and sound also added to the act and helped the jokes land stronger. One segment that stood out was the campy Houdini magic trick act and kudos to Jay Robinson for pulling off the one-man show. There was good crowd work and great voice-acting that left audience members craving for more. A disclaimer in the middle of the programme about language was also highly inventive.

All the members of Durham Revue – Jay Robinson, Alannah O’Hare, Lex Irish, Marc Twinn, Bea Bennett and Melissa Redman – did a fantastic job, with good writing, great character work and strong voice modulation making the whole show stellar. Here’s to many more such wonderful shows from the troupes!

P.S. Look out for their upcoming performance at Fringe!

By Akash Sivakumar

Photo Credits: The Durham Revue