EFR - Reviews of Bristol Revunions: National Friends

Bristol Revunions: National Friends

Thu 4th – Sun 28th August 2011

reviews

Ellen Marsh

at 10:22 on 13th Aug 2011

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Just the Tonic at the Store is a great space for Bristol Revunions: National Friends. It has a friendly vibe, and comedy acts will no doubt do well from the fact that audience members are positively encouraged to drink before and during the show. Though the audience was less than half-full, there was a buzzy atmosphere, and an immediately warm response to this wonderful sketch show from Bristol University’s finest.

Bristol Revunions bring a great amount of energy to their show, an absolute necessity in live comedy, and they get the audience on-side and ready to laugh from the very start. The show is framed by the ‘Banter Train’ comedy group – a wonderful conception that plays on different genres of comedy and self-aware performers. The improvising comedian is particularly funny in the context of the Fringe; the audience knows that for some acts the inability to come up with a successful punchline is not a joke, as it is here. Other highlights include the French waiters negotiating with the teapot Mrs Potts and a really witty sketch involving a failed geography test – when you go and see National Friends, you’ll know which one I mean. Sketches such as this demonstrate the writing talent that exists in this comedy group alongside great comic performances.

The music used between and during sketches worked well to create mood and humour – I particularly enjoyed the use of ‘The Spanish Flea’ (youtube it – the song alone is hilarious) – and the timing of music and sound is slick and supports the performers.

The show is paced very well, for the most part sketches are quick and to the point. There are a couple that go on for a bit too long without enough eventual pay-off, such as a conversation between two Americans that is regularly interrupted by their own internal narration. However, there are no unfunny sketches, a rarity for a revue show, and the audience is constantly entertained. Bristol Revunions deserve a bigger audience than they had on Friday 12th, and if you decide to go, you will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.

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Bethany Knibb

at 11:18 on 13th Aug 2011

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Having seen a not-so-promising Bristol comedy show recently, it was nice to have my faith restored in the form of “Bristol Revunions: National Friends”. It was difficult to tell what the show would be like from the blurb provided, so it’s probably useful to know what (ish) to expect before you go along.

Bristol Revunions is now in its third year at the Fringe, and whatever else may have changed, Jamie Demetriou is still hilarious. With perfect comic timing and the ability to speak faster than a ten year old kid on a sugar high, it’s worth the money to see Demetriou alone. Despite this being the case, the troupe works very well together and have visible chemistry on stage – this is a well-rehearsed show.

The quintet performs a number of comedy sketches, basing their material on a wide variety of subject matter, such as Disney (Miss Potts), bowing etiquette (?!), audio tours of castles, and even the Bible. With such a diverse range of material, how could they fail in being funny? Many of the humorous parts of the show come from quite random observations, so it’s important to be on your toes before seeing “National Friends”.

I personally knew I’d found a good sketch show when 90% of the featured accents sounded real. Also, a lot of the humour itself was very good (generally farcical, almost game-like), but I found I enjoyed the longer sketches much more than the short 1-minuters. The most memorable of these was the ‘origins of the card game’ song – a very intelligent and witty number that proved – if they still had to – that they meant business.

My favourite of the whole show was the Geography scene. The writing was some of the most impressive I think I’ve ever heard and, the more so, because I didn’t catch on until quite a way into the monologue. To think that someone has been so ingenious to come up with that material in the first place, and then for Matt Lister to perform it with such incredible clarity and timing was nothing short of incredible.

Go along to Bristol Revunions for a healthy dose of comedy – but make sure you have a coffee or a drink beforehand so you can keep up with their wit and stamina.

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