Just Deserts presents: waiting for Leo's Oscar

Sun 3rd – Tue 12th August 2014


Georgina Wilson

at 20:54 on 5th Aug 2014



When Freddie Ridell thoughtfully announces this comedy show as an “18+” show , which “some of the younger members of the audience might find distressing” in a jovial voice tinged with genuine concern, I can hardly believe that such a friendly company are actually going to venture out of the boundaries of the squeaky clean.

Adam Cook enters the stage for some brief solo stand-up and instantly scatters my illusions to the wind with some genitalia-related jokes. I don’t take badly to him, though – I really like Michael McIntyre and I think Adam Cook does too. He describes himself as a posh, awkward person – “normal people find friends on Facebook, but I resort to the House of Lords”.

Adam Cook soon steps off to the stage to a round of applause – “I’ve been Adam Cook, this has been a microphone”, and is replaced by group sketches from the whole crew, including Adam. The production gets around the usually slightly awkward switch between sketches with the simple but effective technique of a clapperboard. With the amount of shifty grins, and “um.. that’s it guys”, that is omnipresent at the Fringe to divide up the incessant comedy sketches, I don’t know why people didn’t think of this solution earlier.

The sketches themselves are mostly of a high quality – just a few fall slightly flat, but this could well be put down to taste. The male-dominated cast contains just one women – Annabel Rowntree – and she is by no means the weakest link. In fact, a running theme of sketches which mock “the independent women” as the baddie of a thrilling new film featured in a cinema advert both acknowledges and sends-up the dearth of women in comedy.

The cast have also managed to source a fair few props which add a glossy finish to English Jeeves-and- Worcester-esque tea-time scenes, - even a burlesque red corset. My favourite sketch has to be one which is effectively a re-writing of the persuasion scene in Othello. A dubiously named psychotherapist misleads his patient into marital jealousy, and had me in stitches by the end of the sketch.

There’s a lot of comedy at the Fringe, and it’s often hard to choose. There was a goodly crowd at this one, so lots of people must have decided to pick this. Pick this.


Emily Brearley-Bayliss

at 11:58 on 6th Aug 2014



Watching Just Deserts Productions’ eclectic mix of ridiculous sketches and stand up comedy was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. With a willing crowd, admittedly a group of people who were clearly fans of day-drinking, the energy in the room was sky high, helped along by the blasts of uplifting music that separated the acts.

Introduced by compère Freddie Riddell, whose charisma and charm lifted the performance from the beginning, the first part of the show consisted of a very competent stand up routine by Adam Cook. Although not side-splittingly funny, he warmed the audience up well, and was endearingly self-deprecating.

The following sketch shows ranged from Kim Jong Un’s Olympic committee, a decidedly dodgy therapy session, and a date that ends in the woman trying to pay the bill (shock horror!), to Star Wars, Titanic and Mario Cart. These varied in the levels of laughter they elicited from the audience, sometimes getting huge chuckles, other times not so much, but the atmosphere was such that it was never awkward or uncomfortable.

The actors’ enthusiasm was what really made the show. Sometimes cracking up themselves on stage, their enjoyment in what they were doing was palpable and infectious. Freddie Riddell and Tom Campbell-Moffat showcased a range of accents, all performed with hilarious accuracy and exaggeration. The mix of subject matters, characters and situations was completely random and worked well, even if Lawrence Stanley’s strip tease left me slightly emotionally scarred.

The atmosphere of the venue and the general energy of the performance is what made this show. As the performers’ confidence grows, I am sure they will throw themselves into their roles with even more gusto and commitment, which is what, on the odd occasion some of them lacked. This show would work brilliantly if it was a couple of hours later, when the audience have a couple more pints in them, but this company has a huge amount of potential. ‘Waiting for Leo’s Oscar’ is the perfect way to while away the afternoon. It exemplifies what the Free Fringe is all about, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.


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