Sad Faces Remember it Differently

Fri 17th – Sun 26th August 2012

reviews

Thomas Brada

at 10:15 on 22nd Aug 2012

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Tobi Wilson, Rosie Fletcher, Tom Crowley and Jack Bernhardt. Watch out for these names in the near future, as if this precocious ensemble sketch group who form 'Sad Faces Remember It Differently' continue to work hard in the same vein as they did for me then they will certainly be breaking into the entertainment industry in a big way.

This comedy sketch troupe employ a veritable plethora of comedic devices; pointed and precise wordplay, impeccably-timed physical humour, farcical costume changes, infectious energy, topical punchlines and accents galore. Yet the strongest element of this impressive show is the wacky narrative which nonetheless ties it all together. In quasi-'Pulp Fiction' fashion, the show explores each individual performer's perspective of the unusual events which supposedly took place. Each character lends importance to their personal, bizarre account of the recents happenings, whether that relates to 'the cult of Poundland', a futile pursuing of the fairer sex, the mystery of the missing 'jasmine lapin' and finally the 'Whoopi Goldberg in a Wimple' obsession. Now, I'm sure very little of that last sentence made much sense, but trust me, as a part of the complete performance it is unusual yet unbelievably funny. In simpler terms, each character puts across their own version of eccentric events, which led to the 'schism' which afflicts the friendship group at the very beginning of the piece.

While this narrative continuity is the strength which supports the whole performance, it is not as if the performers put a comedic foot wrong anywhere else. With not a single stuttered line in sight, the performers rage with pulsating energy, switching relentlessly in and out of character and between each other's private, peculiar perspectives. While in some ensemble pieces I am distracted by the varying degrees of talent between the performers, in this case, they all stand out as superlatively silly and equally hilarious. The individual narratives incorporate poignant issues as well as preposterous scenarios. Every time a particular scene or joke reached its comedic climax, the performers manage to invert the audience's expectation and add another dimension to the already heavily concentrated comedic content. It is impossible to identify a single star of this show, so I am going to nominate the narrative trajectory as the star itself, as the end of the show resonates with perfect comedic symmetry to the beginning.

The farcical opening freeze frame which the audience is immediately exposed to belies the absolute genius of this production. Weird, witty and wonderful, 'Sad Faces Remember It Differently' is a fantastically funny show.

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Chelsey Stuyt

at 21:12 on 22nd Aug 2012

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Too often sketch comedy falls into the trap of telling the audience what is funny rather than letting them decide for themselves. Sad Faces barrel along at such as speed that the audience feel like they're being taken for a ride rather than lectured to. Watching 'Sad Faces Remember It Differently' you are struck by how much the cast seem to be enjoying the show – and it is this joy that gives Sad Faces the spark that sets them apart. Unlike every other comedy show at the Fringe they are not playing for laughs, they are playing for joy. And they deliver on both counts.

The show is slick, impressively so. From perfectly synchronised scat song finger snaps to the smooth exit and entries, the cast have produced a nearly perfect show. More than just a series of unrelated sketched, 'Sad Faces Remember It Differently' follows a reconstruction of a single day from the loose memories of the four screwball members of the troupe. Tobi Wilson manages the role of the aggressive buffoon with style, but betrays a little too much intelligence at times. This makes his moments of physical aggression appear a bit contrived – yet the humour remains intact. Rosie Fletcher is luminous as the self-absorbed single female and carries the emotional centre of the show on her narrow shoulders. Although her plotline felt a little too much like a riff on 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia', her timing and characterization made her characters (particularly the ticket box girl) both memorable and relatable. Tom Crawley's heartbroken wise guy provided a solid grounding for the rest of the characters as his humour was derived mainly from pointing out the absurdity in the others' accounts. His secondary characters, particularly the nun, are fantastic and he is blessed with one of the most remarkably mobile faces I've ever seen. Finally, Jack Bernhardt provides the comic sweetness that gets the audience emotionally involved. He stole every scene.

'Sad Faces Remember It Differently' is fast, witty and joyful in a way that seems weirdly old-fashioned. In a festival littered with dark comedy, it is wonderfully refreshing to see something that so clearly brings joy to the performers as well as the audience. An hour of sheer fun. Enjoy.

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