The Edinburgh Revue Sketch Show

Sat 3rd – Sat 24th August 2013

reviews

Frank Lawton

at 02:58 on 16th Aug 2013

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But for the inflexibility of our reviewing software, this show would be awarded three and a half stars. For it is certainly not a bad show, with many laughter-inducing sketches, and a few wholly excellent sketches. However, overall, too many sketches merely provided a line or two to laugh at, as opposed to creating an inherently hilarious situation or original way of viewing an aspect of the world, which is often the root of the best comedy. It must also be said though, that this is a free show, and it stands as the best free show I’ve seen this year at the Fringe, and rather better than some I’ve paid for. It really is cheap at twice the price.

This small troupe of five is well drilled in their material, with fluid delivery throughout and a good grasp of accents (bar, bizarrely, French). The comic acting was generally very good, with Katia Kvinge’s wide-eyed, gawp-mouthed librarian, and her horrified TV presenter - a mix of sneer and sulk - hitting all the right notes. On occasion the acting was let down by the script, which, although boasting many good foundations and individual lines to work with, often didn’t manage to completely clinch a sketch.

There were a number of sketches which were funny but, like a Warren Zevron song, just left you with a sense of unfulfilled potential. ‘MasterRace Chef’: a competition show to see who will get to feed the Fuhrer, is a good idea for a sketch, but it is clumsily dealt with, the ending falling flat. In the case of the rather derivative ‘psychotic anger management guru’, we have the opposite problem: it is explicated too much, the big laugh coming early with a Scrabble-related punchline. However, this company prove in their sketch ‘Second Homeless’ that they can take a relatively derivative basic outline for a sketch and have a lot more success, crafting something fresh and genuinely funny out of a frequently replayed theme.

The show is peppered with funny lines, but in many cases these aren’t enough to simply carry a sketch on their own, despite the confident acting of the cast. If you’re specifically looking for free shows at the Fringe, then this is worth adding to your list as you’re guaranteed moments of genuine quality and enough lines to laugh at to make it worth your trip, even if they do co-habit with some rather more pedestrian offerings.

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Hazel Rowland

at 09:28 on 16th Aug 2013

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One thing that ‘The Edinburgh Revue Sketch Show’ does not lack is energy. In their one hour performance they fit in sixteen sketches, ranging from a chess/tennis match, to an incompetent secret agent inventor. But with an abundance of student comedy troupes at the festival to compete with, can the Edinburgh Revue stand out on their home-turf?

A bubbly entrance by all five performers sets the tone for the show. However, the first three sketches are only vaguely amusing. The sketch comparing the Eiffel Tower to a big dick does little more than just that. Fortunately, they are redeemed by a sketch on a parody TV show - ‘Master-Race Chef’ - which presents an opportunity to make funny German accents, poke fun at reality TV, and bring in some Nazi jokes too (“Extra points for mindless hatred!”). The short sketch on bread deprivation is even more absurd with Katia Kvinge venomously stuffing her face with sliced bread. It may be odd, but it is very comical as one can definitely relate to her starch cravings.

For me, the sketch on 'second homelessness' was the cleverest. Here the performers parodied the charity TV commercial by turning it into a plea for donations to fund MPs’ second homes. Kvinge, in mock seriousness informs us “he lives in Hounslow. And that’s it.” It is an original idea for a rather overdone joke.

The sketch on anger management could have easily have fallen flat if it were not for the petrified faces of Clarisse Loughrey and Alex Harwood. The joke is that the anger management course leader (David Blair) is shouting relentless at his students. But this is far from the only joke in the sketch. When Blair demands a spoon from Harwood so that he can eat his soufflé, Harwood promptly begins spooning Blair on stage, much to the audience’s delight.

As a young group, The Edinburgh Revue is promising. Some of the stronger sketches are positively funnier than a number of TV sketches with established comedians. The show runs smoothly, with slick scene changes. Although some of the sketches are weaker, they all at least produce some giggles from the audience. This is a fun show with a tight script that is well-executed by a group of talented performers.

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