EFR - Reviews of Land of Nod

Land of Nod

Mon 6th – Sat 11th August 2012

reviews

Leah Eades

at 02:05 on 10th Aug 2012

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I wasn’t nodding off during this performance, as the four actors behind this series of 16 sketches present us with a fantastic quick-fire one-hour comedy show. With all sketches written by Mike Nelson, we are whizzed between scenarios at breakneck speed, with each sketch lasting no more than a few minutes and rapid costume changes accompanied by aptly-chosen music. This group were impressively imaginative and versatile, and work very well together as a team.

The variety of topics covered by the sketches is massive. Stand-out sketches included Victorian women posing as men trying to conceal their femininity whilst confronted with the frightfully erotic ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ of their day, a Bond pastiche which makes excellent use of sound effects whilst alluding to the current budget cuts, a man who bags a top financial job by gargling the Blue Peter theme tune (an enviable talent) and a Jobseekers Allowance interview which sees the unemployed graduate being sold into slavery to a pirate. As you might have picked up already, many sketches are politically relevant to our time. Some sketches, meanwhile, recurred over the course of the show, creating a sense of continuity. These included the “Morrissey Dancers”, Cornish Morris dancers replete with bells and sticks decorated with ribbon, singing and cavorting to depressing Morrissey lyrics, and a series of takes for a scene from Britain’s most clichéd soap opera, which culminates with the unchallenged, RADA-trained actor performing “I want to break free” in a golden unitard in order to assert himself and escape the monotony of the soap world. Oh, and try to spot the tribute to Eddie Izzard’s famous “cake or death” piece within one of the sketches too.

The cast were incredibly inventive and creative, conjuring up entire worlds and scenarios using a simple array of costumes, props and technical effects. Accomplished actors with impeccable comic timing, these sketches are well-worth seeing one evening – especially given that they’re part of the Free Fringe! See them now, because I wouldn’t be surprised if a group as talented as this will be back next year as a ticketed performance.

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Mel Melville

at 09:12 on 10th Aug 2012

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Circus music warmed up the small audience that had gathered in the secret room below Chicito and immediately set the tone. Slapstick it is not, but during the duration of the hour, whoever you are and whatever state you are in, I assure you that this show will tickle you.

The first sketch is hilarious setting the standards high for the rest of the show. Fear not as these four actors take you on an exquisite journey giving you everything you could ever desire in a sketch show. Ridiculous lines such as, ‘‘He threw the baby out the window!’’ are a huge hit as they are delivered by four fabulous actors. It’s incredibly refreshing watching a group of people performing in a sketch show that are true actors and it really changes the level of hilarity. They commit to every line and master every joke. At times it is very surreal and leaves you searching around the audience for affirmation that it really is simply barking mad.

Talk of rape and funerals within the same sketch leads to ingenious methods of inheriting hats. You witness James Bond suffering from cut-backs as he is presented with a weapon that, ‘‘In the event of precipitation will keep you completely dry.’’ Yes, his weapon is essentially an umbrella. Never before did I imagine that I would watch gargling to the Blue Peter theme tune live on stage. These are sketches that leave you bemused yet always entertained.

Just before your mind is blown, the actors return to earlier sketches adding a sense of narrative to the show. One sketch is repeated over and over again with 70% of the scene exactly the same. Somehow, it becomes more and more amusing.

These four actors have perfect comedic timing. No one actor was better than another and they all performed exceptionally well throughout. Keep your eye open for this team because I’m sure that whatever they go on to do next will be just as fantastic. Mike Nelson, Simon Lacy, Nicola Vincent and Jo Gerard deserve to have a full audience every night.

With accents adding to the hilarity; props accentuating the madness of the characters; music accurately setting the scene for each bizarre sketch and constant cackling amongst the audience, I’m won over enough to promise you laughter in this show. All comedy sketch groups should take notes from this fantastic FREE show. It is a real treat and a great way to kick off your evening.

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