Up The Antics: Loco-Motive

Sun 19th – Fri 24th August 2018


Alina Young

at 09:58 on 22nd Aug 2018



In the upstairs room of the Revolution Bar, Up the Antic’s comedy sketch show ‘Loco-Motive’ packs out all available seats. The show proves that the best comedy doesn’t have to rely on anything but the ensemble. No costume changes, no props, no change from the bar’s usual lighting. The charming, pay-what-you-want show is a beer in hand, cheap and cheerful kind of affair, without compromising on quality of writing or performance.

Sketch after sketch is ingenious, and the audience is roaring with laughter every scene. Up the Antics hit the golden balance of bizarre situations, yet with recognisable characters. They subtly observe how people actually behave, and leave us laughing at ourselves or people we know.

Several scenes link with each other, building upon jokes to offer an instant punchline. We see home-owners and then their burglars, and the reappearance of brilliant characters like the in-house sommelier at M&Ms World, who puts a spin on the ‘arsey French waiter’ stereotype.

Part of the joy of the production is how it feels current without labouring over contemporary hot topics. Little touches, including many same-sex couples, make the show feel like it represents modern living. Most importantly, the joke isn’t about lesbians – it’s just a couple’s scene.

Vegan/gluten-free/Dry January tribes appear in a sketch about a shipwreck, and would rather go hungry than bend on their values. What makes this hilarious is that the group don’t go for the obvious when approaching these stereotypes: there are no tired jokes, like the ‘angry vegan lecturing about their views.’ Instead, observational humour is at its peak. Characters realistically accept absurd dietary requirements regardless of situation, and congratulate others on sticking to their personal goals.

Up the Antics is slick throughout, and have great chemistry. Combined with light and clever writing, it makes for an hour that passes in a flash. As they have another daily show, the audience will undoubtedly be tempted to go – they’re a troupe that can be relied on to deliver laughs every minute.


Jessica Loram

at 10:34 on 22nd Aug 2018



Up the Antics deliver brilliantly witty and wide-ranging comedic gold in their 'Loco-motive' “replacement sketch service”. The Bristol based group ingeniously travel through a host of diverse themes and cultural reference points. I find myself immersed, quickly forgetting that we are apparently waiting for the national rail to resume our “journey”.

The Antics found their sketches on relatable cultural references and (often) everyday situations, but there is nothing predictable about the material. Covering themes from food fads and job interviews to the inordinate number of flyers on the Mile, The Antics navigate their material in original and very entertaining ways. Frodo and Sam and Doctor Who make appearances, as does a highly amusing haute cuisine M&M waiter (Waqar Munir). Ros Beeson’s job interview sketch had me in stitches and Vicky Cansfield’s death-bed scene is priceless. Laughter erupts regularly from the audience, making for a great atmosphere at Revolution Bar. It is also refreshing to finally see sketches interchange the genders of couples, without hinging the sketch material on whether the characters are gay or straight. It’s a shame that in 2018 this is even worth noting in a review, but it feels pretty unprecedented and testifies to The Antics’ reputation as a reliably and intelligently funny troupe.

Considering the limited space and non-existent set (the cast disappear behind a screen when not performing), Up the Antics are really impressive in their creative use of what they do have. Carefully chosen audio extracts announce the end of each sketch, but audio also features more prominently within scenes too. The group’s interaction with the audience requires no effort on our behalf, but still engages the entire room playfully. The relaxed bar venue suits the group’s casual charm and will immediately put you at ease - so don’t let the later start time of 22:50 put you off a really enjoyable ride on the Loco-motive.


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