EFR - Reviews of Give Us Your Lunch Funny

Give Us Your Lunch Funny

Wed 7th – Sat 24th August 2013

reviews

Lise McNally

at 02:23 on 20th Aug 2013

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The performers of ‘Give Us Your Lunch Funny’ quite literally take you by the hand and pull you in to their weird and wonderful world. Greeting the audience with handshakes and biscuits as they enter an apparent “teachers’ conference”, the personable cast are quite clearly having a ball, and are endearingly eager for you to have a ball with them. While they at times fall a little short of laugh-out-loud funny, the energy is catching, and the show genuinely enjoyable.

Sketches are loosely organised around the premise of a workshop allowing teachers to explore the effectiveness of comedy in the classroom, opening with a rousing rewrite of a Robbie Williams song: “Let Me Educate You”. Educate they don’t, but entertain they certainly do. Indeed, music and movement becomes a unifying force throughout the show, far more so than the at-times-indiscernible plot. The cast are all talented singers, fearless physical performers, and earnest attempters of charmingly gawky choreography: those sketches which make use of these talents are by far the best. The innovative staging and original material of sketches such as “The search for the end of the internet”, and the pop-song-quoting gospel preacher are clever as well as comical and help to lift the energy of the show after a few inevitable lags.

The momentum of the piece is not consistently maintained: a few sketches are weaker than others, falling back on clichéd stereotypes. Also, at times, the extravagant personas of some of the comedians become a little over the top and screechy, which can be irritating towards the end of the set. Yet their chemistry as a group is undeniable, and each member of the ensemble is given the chance to shine. Particularly strong evidence of comic promise comes from Hannah Horan—the only female comic in the show, Horan displays a wicked sense of comic timing and has enough confidence in the quality of her material to keep her characterisation low-key. Tommy Isaacs also deserves praise for a wonderfully rhythmic vocal performance—slick, stylish and punchy delivery really enlivens the already-solid material.

While it might not be the most original example of sketch comedy at the Fringe, there are a wide enough range of comic styles to suit every taste. Cunning one-liners are slipped subtly into more overt gags, and the energetic commitment of the cast is enough to produce an indulgent smile even for those jokes which might be a bit familiar. Recurring motifs and contemporary references keep you on your toes, and this is certainly a good way to spend an unoccupied hour. The Bristol Revunions don’t want your lunch money, they just want your time, and it is largely worth paying up.

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Mona Damian

at 09:51 on 20th Aug 2013

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The cast of Pete Simpson, Hector Dyer, Owen Petty, Hannah Horan, James Alexander and Tommy Isaacs offer a classroom of mirth that highlights the importance of comedy as a teaching tool. The main plot that promises "we will educate you" is broken up by numerous other light hearted sketches that keep the audience entertained.

The sheer enthusiasm of the cast as they each fall into their numerous roles is certainly infectious. Though at times one might say that certain sketches come across as more forced and try-hard than freely flowing, the relish and energy of the cast can at no point be faulted. What really adds to this is the slick incorporation of music throughout. Not only does an upbeat soundtrack help keep the cast literally bouncing on the floor boards, and the audience on their toes, but a continuous flow of song and dance from the cast members eases the pressure-off moments of more laboured comedy. The cast’s impeccable timing, either when dancing or just gesticulating along, works flawlessly with the well-chosen tunes. Music’s importance to the production comes to its head with a fairly impressive scene that managed to incorporate a lyric for any taste, whether catering for a lover of contemporary hip hop or a connoisseur of Christmas carols.

The show gained a lot of life from the witty recurring subplot of a ‘Come Dine with Me’ starring the most famous, as well as infamous, members of the Last Supper. Jesus, Judas and Mary offered some hilariously sharp dialogue that showcased the entire cast as competent and fun entertainers.

Conversely, there were also certain sketches that relied too much on over-used comedy material. For instance, the fun that can be poked at the modern person’s incessant need to 'like' and 'hash tag' has definitely been used often before as comic material and could have been a little more polished by the Bristol Revunions. That is, though, not to say that this production doesn't attempt to breathe some fresh life into more classic sketches.

The flair and energy of the all singing, all dancing cast promises to brighten up anyone’s day, least of all thanks to the complementary biscuit that welcomed all those free for lunch for a free show.

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