EFR - Reviews of Pelican

Pelican

Thu 20th – Thu 27th August 2015

reviews

Tess Davidson

at 10:28 on 25th Aug 2015

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If there’s one thing the Fringe has taught me, it is never to go to the free comedy show with the guy who shouts at you about computer games and Star Wars. I am still suffering from the trauma. So when I arrived to see Pelican, I was a cynical wreck. The creation of Cambridge Footlights Jordan Mitchell, Theo Wethered, Sam Grabiner and Guy Emanuel, Pelican is a series of absurd and surreal sketches, carried out in the most beguiling and charming manner. The premise was very simple – watching four best friends forget they had an audience. The chemistry between them was incredibly strong, their sneaky eye contact and stifled giggles palpable, even though they thought they were being subtle. In light of the ease and comfort on stage, there was an atmosphere of total faith and confidence in the audience, as they waited expectantly for the four to deliver – which they most definitely did. Through a brilliantly wide range of sketches, the quartet dropped the airs and graces of many arrogant comedians at the Fringe, instead offering up an hour of silliness and fun. Sketches included losing their confidence, squeamish doctors in surgery and the addition of Jesus to the Beatles. The show was very well-written and kept the audience laughing throughout. The slightly disjointed transitions between each sketch only served to reinforce the hilarity, in particular the cries of ‘ooo-ahh’ between each new piece was much funnier than it should have been and still had not worn thin by the last sketch.

The use of props added another dimension to their work, a horse and Scooby Doo costume causing much hilarity among the audience. Credit must be given to the level of interaction as well. Often in the world of comedy, audience ‘participation’ usually involves dragging a red-faced individual by the arms with all your weight into the centre of the stage, where they stand in totally polite agony. In Pelican, there was a kindness when they spoke to the crowd, which put them further at ease. One was serenaded, another brought into the sketch and at the end nearly two-thirds of the audience were brought up onto the stage in what was nothing less than a stroke of genius.

All four performers brought something different to the show, their diversity working to their advantage. Jordan Mitchell and Guy Emanuel stood out, their natural chemistry and onstage presence self-evident. Their incorporation of music was slick and a nice balance.

I absolutely loved this performance, I was laughing throughout (doing the embarrassing old man guffaw at one point, so you know you’ve got me when that happens). By far the best comedic performance I have seen at the Fringe this year.

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Anna Fleck

at 12:09 on 25th Aug 2015

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The chemistry between these dorky-cool Cambridge boys is unrivalled. Pelican is a true merit to university comedy. The four distinctly different lads bring their unique stamp to the stage, inviting roars of laughter from a full-packed room over and over again. One hunky, one cool, one a literary genius and one, for want of a better word, anal, the four boys come as a united package.

Pelican: A Sketch show has everything you could possibly want from a one-hour comedy. Fast-paced, funny and frenetic, the boys are not afraid to adlib and improvise as they react to the responses of their audience. From creating a human ‘claw’ through physical theatre to a sketch of Jesus joining the Beetles; creating a pair of smugly swearing sliding doors to running around the stage to the Beach Boys with an ironing board for a surfboard, this show thrives off ingenuity and playfulness. Even the transitions become moments of comedy, as the slick scene changes are accompanied by a unanimous ‘ooh’ as one scene ends and ‘aah’ as another begins. By retaining their own names on stage, the boys never try to force belief in characters too far. Instead, they can take a joke.

The usually friendly atmosphere found at the Fringe is experienced tenfold at Just the Tonic, where the audience was more than happy to climb onto the stage to aid a sketch or two. The boys are gracious and polite, treating volunteers with a degree of respect that makes the overall experience enjoyable for everyone.

The boys gain confidence in themselves and the trust of the audience through the course of the show, so that by the final scene, everyone willingly swarms from their seats to take part in a ritualistic shaman dance. Thoroughly silly, it is easy to get caught up in the role-play as the lights dim and the beat of feet act as a tempo to 80 chanting voices.

I cannot get enough of this show; it is a totally enjoyable experience. Only one or two scenes slip under the radar, which is remarkable considering the heaps of hilarious material that flew by. Pelican are a joy to watch and have great potential for years ahead. An absolute must-see.

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