EFR - Reviews of The Liverpool Revue

The Liverpool Revue

Sat 19th – Sat 26th August 2017

reviews

Tamsin Bracher

at 09:57 on 23rd Aug 2017

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Liverpool University’s one and only sketch comedy troupe performed a wide range of material with professional ease. Held in the cosy Kilderkin pub to a backdrop of glittering fairy lights, the group’s performance was both light-hearted and refreshingly dynamic. All nine comedians were naturally engaging and although the content of the show wasn’t particularly ambitious, it was topical without being overly-political and confident without being overly-affected. The evening was a happy one - drink in hand, sheltering from the rain, and faced with a reliable source of entertainment.

This comedy show will not make an audience ‘go wild’ or ‘bring the house down’; however, the pace of ‘The Liverpool Revue’ is consistent and some of the sketches are strikingly original. The first stand-out piece detailed the problems of ‘The Modern Printer’. And the barrage of groans that sounded from the audience lay testament to the universality of the experience: ‘The Liverpool Revue’ brilliantly related how the ink cartridge was low, of the wrong type, that there was a paper jam, that there was no paper at all, that the text was upside down, that the text was back to front, that the settings must be incorrect … concluding with great solemnity that ‘The Modern Printer’ had sadly ‘claimed [yet] another life’.

Another favourite took a shot at the NHS, the long-waiting time for patients seeking surgery and the modern fad to diagnose oneself with every ailment under the sun. There followed, rather inevitably, multiple digs at Donald Trump, Brexit and the Scottish Referendum. But I would question whether these were necessary. Such issues have been completely overworked by comedians in the last year and unfortunately ‘The Liverpool Revue’ did not offer the audience anything different. These jokes were predictably dated, echoes of what has come before them. Instead this comedy troupe was at its best when it focused on the trivial, mocking the large in the small. A pithy ‘Bopit’ sketch was effectively repeated throughout the performance, almost chorus-like in the way it digested and spat out the latest section of the show. And ‘The Liverpool Revue’ ended with a side-splitting re-enactment of the ‘University Scenes Grand National’. Using race horses called ‘Perky Fresher’, ‘Living for the Sesh’, ‘Tired Dissertation’, ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock n’roll’ and ‘Overnight Late Library Hours’ (amongst others), the Revue told the chaotic story of student-life with electric verve. It was the perfect way to conclude a diverse and, on the most part, very well-judged set.

Puns, word-play, slap-stick comedy and witty asides, ‘The Liverpool Revue’ offered a wonderful medley of sketches. The performance was cleverly crafted - and it paid off.

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Amaris Proctor

at 12:57 on 27th Aug 2017

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This sketch show has perhaps the best energy you’ll find at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, and is raucously good fun.

There is a lot to praise about this production, which is thronged with laugh out loud moments. The student group’s choice to write about what they know gave them a staunch advantage over other sketch shows. Their comedic bits on student life, including a hilarious one portraying a mock ‘student grand national’ and a David Attenborough-esque take on printing coursework, are luminous. The comedy which centres around relationships also possesses a blooming freshness. Even when they do return to the well of tragicomedy which was 2016, they ensure the material has a spin untrodden by any hacks before them. In contrast, the snippets of narrative dependent on American movie tropes feel less innovative. A joke about sexual assault in prison in particular is tediously familiar and unnecessary.

I couldn’t help but rejoice in the show’s straightforwardness, and absence of superfluous props. The set is pretty much nonexistent, simply comprising of a few strands of fairy lights. The venue itself is fantastically fitting. Nestled in the warmly informal back room of a pub called Kilderkin, the sketch show is layered with the sounds of highly spirited festival goers.

This magnified the crackling electricity the performers exude, which viewers couldn’t help but be infected by. The tremendous chemistry of the large cast fills the cramped space. A dynamism bounces off the rowdy bunch, who immediately shake the audience’s hands with vigour in an effort to demonstrate ‘we’re all friends here’. They soon got the large gathering of spectators on side. The actors themselves blatantly have the time of their lives on stage. Their fits of uncontrollable silent laughter disrupt several scenes and leave them visibly shaking. This, while unprofessional, is deeply disarming. However, some sections could evidently have done with a touch more rehearsal, as evinced by the fact that some jokes were read rather of a paper or screen.

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