EFR - Reviews of Kind Hearts & Cormorants

Kind Hearts & Cormorants

Sat 8th – Tue 11th August 2015

reviews

Ella Wilks-Harper

at 08:38 on 12th Aug 2015

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In a small intimate venue on the 7th floor of the Jury’s Inn, you might hear the sound of a Dalek stuck in an elevator. That would be Kind Hearts and Cormorants, the six man show that entertains with a pick and mix of fast-paced sketches, dripping with British satire.

From Edgar Allan Poe as one of the Teletubbies to Heaven providing a helpline, each sketch was refreshing and ingeniously witty. It seems little was left that wasn’t parodied, with the majority of sketches bouncing off each other, in fluid fashion.

Most sketches jibed at the middle and upper-classes, from mocking Classic FM’s desperate attempts to re-image its bourgeois exterior, to politicians proudly proclaiming their common Etonian roots in song. Music and odd-ball singing further aided the on stage banter, though, at times were used to excess, notably with one sketch featuring operatic singing being completely incomprehensible.

It was refreshing to see that while the majority of sketches were a random consortium of British humour, a large handful managed to tap into modern qualms. Such as the growing paranoia surrounding terrorism within Western culture and recent protests against fracking. These issues were taken to their extreme to add to the ridiculous nature of the British, though at times were handled slightly insensitively.

Off stage voice overs, reflecting the inner thoughts of the upper class British further heightened the hilarity of the stereotypical. Although, the majority of actors were strong, it was a combination of perfectly timed voice overs and flamboyant gesticulation that made this show side-splittingly funny.

Although, at times the audience were reminded of the amateur nature of the performance, with some actors falling out of character to smirk at the laughing audience, which flattened the comedy. Some sketches worked better than others but it was the randomness that kept the production feel so quick, and it was thoroughly enjoyable to never be sure where they would propel us to next.

This sketch show is packed full with great material though needs more polish. It is clear that these six university students have a strong future ahead. This sketch show is definitely worth checking out for a good laugh before lunch. It’s so fast-paced you’ll be surprised when it’s over!

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Rowena Henley

at 09:32 on 12th Aug 2015

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Kind Hearts & Cormorants was a comedy sketch show involving six guys from Edinburgh, Durham and Cambridge University. For the most part, the humour was exceptionally intelligent and engaging, but the show was by no means perfect. A few blunders and bad jokes really let the performance down as a whole.

The pace of Kind Hearts & Cormorants was one of its most commendable elements. The show had an ideal assortment of long-form sketches and shorter scenes, along with the added amusement of one-liners and pre-recorded material to create the variety that comedy sketch shows so often severely lack. One of the longer sketches involving all six performers showed us an AA-style meeting for those sexually attracted to insects, and was my personal highlight. This scene allowed for every actor to showcase their comedic talents: the facial expressions were hilarious and the puns outstanding. The shorter sections were equally as impressive, with the one around a water cooler involving my favourite phrase of the entire festival: “fannying around”.

Unfortunately, there were a few moments that bombed. Hard. The game show about unlikely extreme sports was painfully unamusing, and the Doctor Who themed phone call was a real low point. A musical scene involving the description of wiping your bum with your hand was not only unenjoyable because of its lazy content, but also because the music blasted far louder than the performers’ vocals. The audience had to strain to hear lyrics they probably weren’t too impressed with in the first place.

Whilst the handling of difficult and controversial subjects was done with impressive professionalism, much of Kind Hearts & Cormorants did feel very amateurish. One performer could be seen corpsing in almost every sketch, and a few of the scene changes were clumsy and awkward. Having said this, however, the performers were working with a difficult space and dealt with it well throughout most of the show.

Kind Hearts & Cormorants was immensely humourous in content and intelligent in construction. Although there were a few downfalls, the show was remarkable good for a company in their early days of development. Flightless Birds has some true talents and some inventive ideas, so they are definitely one to watch for future Fringes.

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