Bristol Revunions: Dolce Vita

Thu 4th – Sun 28th August 2016

reviews

Olivia Cormack

at 10:11 on 19th Aug 2016

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Do you think you are motivated? No? Then Bristol Revunions claim to have the answer. An hour of comedy sketches, sorry ‘real life situations’, designed to give you some get up and go energy, this comedy sketch show explores everything from Pinocchio’s dating life, to MLK Jr’s potential nautical hobbies. This show is guaranteed to give you a few laughs, especially if you are a fan of bad puns, my personal brand of humour, but some sketches may leave you feeling like you missed the joke.

Some sketches are pure genius, watching a group of lads on tour dismantling the infrastructure of ISIS is especially funny. However this only means that the mediocre sketches are even more of an anti-climax in comparison. Maybe it is an issue of humour but some sketches just do not seem to have a very strong premise and the over-arching frame narrative of a motivational seminar is unobjectionable but falls a little flat at points. Having said that, the audience in general seem to find the sketches hilarious and not a cricket was heard for the whole performance.

To their credit, the sketches draw on a variety of different types of humour meaning that there is something for everyone, but this is also probably why the humour can feel a little hit and miss. The acting style that some of the performers adopt, where they act to the back of the room rather than to their fellow performers is not to my personal taste but I recognise that it is a specific style and is something many people enjoy. Audience interaction is minimal and those that do get picked on are sufficiently rewarded for their bravery.

The staging is simple and the performers are not afraid to turn their lack of props into the butt of the joke. The music and lighting cues were polished and evidently well-rehearsed, and the space amplified their voices nicely.

An enjoyable hour but not something I would go to see again, Bristol Revunions have done a good job of writing sketches that will appeal to many different people. However I cannot help feeling that the show might be more of a hit if they were to commit to just one brand of humour rather than trying to create a catch-all show.

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Ben Ray

at 10:27 on 19th Aug 2016

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A friend once told me that sketch shows are always hard to plan- there always has to be something for everyone, to get the whole audience laughing. Unfortunately, this means that there are some moments that are relatively hit and miss with the audience- not quite up to scratch, or without that panache and flair that breaks the audience into fits of laughter. ‘Dolce Vita’, put together by students from the Bristol Revunions, epitomises this- quirky and original ideas that have the audience in stitches placed beside scenes that could do with just a bit of tightening or readjusting to bring them up to scratch.

Certain points do impress, and raise the show above the ordinary: the slick transitions, with various pop music interludes breaking up sketches before the actors flawlessly pick up the next scene, make the show flow smoothly along and tie together the disparate acts. Similarly, the overarching framework of a motivational seminar to allow the audience to reach their own ‘dolce vita’ gives a much needed architecture to the wacky collection of jokes and ideas.

The use of audience participation also keeps people engaged- there’s nothing quite like the all-consuming fear of being brought up on stage to focus the mind on a performance. However, these successes are tempered by the actors’ strangely stilted and awkward delivery of the lines, occasionally giving the impression that the show is being read off a projector screen hidden behind the audience. In a show where energy and verve are so important, this lacklustre delivery unfortunately dampens the mood in some of the otherwise hilarious sketches.

And make no mistake, some of them are truly hilarious: an edition of Countdown where the players are shot after the final minute clock has finished, a drunken stag party that manages to solve the problem of ISIS and instability in the Middle East, and a jockey who cannot quite work out what a horse really is. There are flashes of genius in ‘Dolce Vita’- and, with a slight rewrite and tightening in some parts and with a little more energy injected into the delivery, we could perhaps all leave the performance knowing that we had experienced ‘the good life’.

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