RH: Live

Tue 21st – Mon 27th August 2012

reviews

Rivkah Brown

at 22:18 on 22nd Aug 2012

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The ‘The RH Experience’ is a laugh, but not quite as professional as the troupe’s title might suggest. Having started life as bedroom video-makers-cum-YouTube phenomenon, they have bravely decided to break into the world of improvised comedy. It seems, however, that there are some teething pains.

The basis of the show seems to be less a series of sketches with audience involvement than drama games, with the odd bit of (usually forced) audience participation. The first game, ‘Michael Caine’, involved, predictably, each of Connor Jatter, Luke Spillane and Tom Webster impersonating the famous British actor in sketches where no one was allowed to smile or laugh. Neither a hugely funny nor original concept, though the impersonations were often uncanny, and got a reasonable amount of laughs.

With the audience now tepid, the trio moved swiftly on to ‘Ballerina’, another familiar-seeming game to anyone who’s done any am-dram. There were funny bits, in particular Webster’s brilliant imagining of a ‘cockney colony on the Moon’; there were also rusty bits, such as when Spillane was forced to say, ‘Hello?’ to an unresponsive Webster. Due to the comics’ newness to improv shows, the comedy certainly doesn’t gush forth, but comes in waves.

Surprisingly, the best moments were during moments of audience participation; in our case, when they bounced off the reluctance of two women to create sound-effects to accompany their sketch, turning what could have been disastrous into some sidesplitting comedy. Other games were too convoluted for the audience to follow: ‘Pan Left’ left even the comics themselves tangled in a web of interwoven story lines.

The show as a whole could do with more coherence and consistency, though be prepared for the odd firecracker out of nowhere. Luckily for ‘The RH Experience’, the problems seem not to be talent (which the boys clearly have by the bucket load), but finesse, practice and polish. Certain elements of the show, such as sourcing improv ideas from Twitter, seem gimmicky, and exacerbate this problem. I know it is the age of technology that gave birth to ‘The RH Experience’, but it would be nice to see them living a little bit more on their wits.

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Sukhmani Khatkar

at 23:51 on 22nd Aug 2012

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RH: Live is an improvised comedy caper delivered by an extremely witty trio. Indeed, Conor Jatter, Luke Spillane and Tom Webster are a highly capable bunch who have created a production that has a similar premise to that of “Who’s line is it anyway?”. However, despite their abilities, there’s a pervasive air of unwarranted smugness that, to me, was extremely irritating.

This production carries audiences through a series of “games”, inviting audience participation and even integrating up to date tweets in their skits. In all fairness, the tomfoolery that ensues is entertaining, to a degree. For example, the group use lines from books requested from the audience to construct an entire scene, devise a rewind/ fast forward routine and even invite audience members to direct their bodily movements. The trio are, without doubt, a talented bunch. What’s more is that each is able to assume a persona or adopt an accent with what looked like consummate professionalism. However, there is a striking dichotomy between acting ability and content. This was highlighted all too well by the aforementioned “book game” in which Spillane and Webster took it in turns to read lines picked at random from the Edinburgh Fringe Guide and er John Plamenatz’s “Man and Society”, respectively. Unfortunately, the pair seemed to be masking blatant incoherence in dialogue with some ill thought out character acting. Grandiose voices and dramatic gestures for Plamenatz’s political treatise and obscure words meshed together from the guide didn’t exactly translate into comprehensible conversation. Additionally, the smugness with which these scenes were acted out was most certainly at odds with its most obvious deficiencies.

However, this is not to suggest that RH:Live is not funny. When they get it right, they really get it right. Indeed, their “moving people” section was hilarious for all the right reasons. Jatter and Webster’s lightning quick quips as they were positioned around stage by two enthusiastic audience members was, without doubt, the deserved highlight of the show. Indeed, it just served to emphasise the fact that given that given the right situation the trio have the potential to deliver comedy in clever, stylish fashion.

RH:Live lacks consistency and, sadly, this is painfully conspicuous. However, it is probably only a matter of time before this talented group of comedians manage to combine their performative skills with the right material.

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