The Jest: The Five Humours

Wed 12th – Sun 30th August 2015

reviews

Tess Davidson

at 09:28 on 24th Aug 2015

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The Five Humours is a fast-paced and quirky sketch show from The Jest. This troupe’s frenetic energy creates an intimate comedy experience. Immediately from the first sketch, there was audience participation, with several members of the front row becoming recurring new additions to the sketches throughout the entire performance. This continuity kept the audience engaged and on their toes – largely out of a fear that they would be chosen as the next ‘volunteer’. An interactive introduction, dependent upon lighting and sound, made for a dramatic pace, albeit one that was slightly lost as the performance continued.

Some of the sketches were very well coordinated, a hospital scene involving a traumatised patient and some fantastic Maggie Smith impersonations was slick and most crucially of all, very funny. Luke Theobald must be given credit for this sketch in particular, the juxtaposition of his physical appearance (a beefy, flaming red-head) with the cries of “sherbert lemons!” made for a hilarious few minutes. Whilst his other impersonations failed to reach the same level of hilarity, Theobald’s deadpan delivery throughout is laudable, his onstage presence alone a true measure of his potential.

Another star who must be given credit is Bryony Twydle, whose performance buoyed many of the weaker sketches. Her fantastic array of facial expressions combined with her physical humour made for a consistently strong performance.

Inevitably, there were moments where jokes were over-played, such as the Harry Potter references and the awkward love scenes between couples but equally so, there were enough amusing moments to sustain the frivolous atmosphere. The audience responded well, reinforcing how a couple of drinks and comedy can go hand in hand, but also demonstrating that this level of physical, absurd and slightly surreal humour is still very popular with many.

The Five Humours wa an interesting experience, with many of the sketches failing to reach expectations, the high quality of the impersonations at the beginning being held up, by both cast and audience alike, as the impossible standard throughout. There is definitely a great deal of potential, and the enthusiasm with which the cast throw themselves into their roles evident, but it just needs a little fine tuning.

If you enjoy childish gags and general silliness, this is the show for you. If not, then you may find this hour’s performance deeply lacking. My advice is not to take it too seriously – and buy a drink. Or three.

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Anna Fleck

at 10:08 on 24th Aug 2015

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Raucous and ridiculous, The Five Humours is a barrel of laughs. The Jest is yet another of comedy groups that has brought a sketch show to the Fringe. If you’re not searching for an evening of highbrow entertainment, then arm yourself with a cider and head on in. The Jest's show, The Five Humours, embraces fun and frivolity, as each member of the audience must dance from their seats, and those unfortunate enough to sit in the front row will assuredly be pulled onto the stage.

Luke Theobold has to be congratulated on his fantastic comic timing and side-splitting impersonations. In a sketch about a patient’s operation on his foot that has gone terribly wrong, the said patient remains in a wheelchair, feet seemingly unfixed, and voice also mysteriously ruined. He has somehow been left with the screeching voice of Professor Minerva McGonagall. His explosion of ‘SHERBET LEMONS!’ alongside bulging eyes, flared nostrils, pursed lips and a shaking, tutting head, had the audience in uproar. His later impersonations of Madame Hooch, Hagrid and Dumbledore equally rise to the challenge, as each new voice and mannerism sparks laughs and chortles of recognition.

From a power-crazed instructor on a driving safety course (Bryony Twydle) to a sketch about one man’s (Tristan Rogers) love for micro-pig celebrity lookalikes, things just seem to get battier and battier. However some of the original punchy pace is lost after the first few sketches. Only by returning to earlier jokes does the show regain energy, simultaneously giving the performance a neat, rounded finish, whilst reinforcing some of the stronger gags. The show is then rounded up with one final audience dance as all hell breaks loose: Theobold is returned to the wheelchair in which he began, his legs spread, and a pigs head pops out from beneath blue surgical sheets.

A concoction of craziness and confusion, The Jest create something suitable for all the family. The Exeter graduates don’t stoop to cheap jokes from the usual hot topics of sex, lust and taboo, but rather find their comedy in original subject matter and a willingness to step into the absurd. The late night showing suits its simple purpose to incite laughter after a few drinks, and they do it well.

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