Strange Bedfellows

Tue 26th – Sat 30th April 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 23:18 on 26th Apr 2016

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Strange Bedfellows, an hour of exuberant and eclectic sketches held together by a tenuous relationship with current affairs had the audience of the Corpus Playroom in stitches. If you're ready for a romp through a quick fire show of constantly evolving comedy, and aren't allergic to apples, this could be the ideal 9.30 pm activity for you. Plus, it's an excellent chance to bid a tearful farewell to what could be the last pile of TCS paper copies you ever see...

The stage of the Playroom was strewn with scattered and crumpled newsprint as the audience arrived, with more projected onto the walls. Into this chaotic, journalistic command centre burst Jack Needham and Sam Knights, launching, after a short introduction, into the evening's entertainment.

First up came one of the strongest sketches in the show: a fantastic little scene about "George" and "David" and the problems caused by "George's" lack of care when handling the economy. As the last one to touch it, "George" is held responsible for its inexplicable crash. This sketch, like many in the show, allowed Sam Knights to capitalise on his particular brand of wide-eyed, high-energy shambles, bouncing about the stage pulling faces and shouting. Jack Needham, although often cast as the straight man against this, managed here, and many times afterwards, to pull in his own little slice of absurdity at the close of the scene.

These roles weren't ascribed all the way through either, notably in the wonderful Isaac Newton sketch, with a cowering Knights standing pitifully in the middle of the stage being berated by a furious Needham. This sense of flexibility made the show very balanced, and seemed to play to the strengths of its two writers and performers. Another highlight was the Puzzle Interlude, a crazed (and, I must warn you, mildly interactive) kind of game show masterminded by Knights, to Needham's great embarrassment. It features an obscene crossword, and a "subjective quiz", an idea I think might possibly be obtuse and obfuscating enough to spawn one of my upcoming essays.

Strange Bedfellows is certainly, delightfully strange, taking a joyful, slightly absurd, constantly punning skip through that most depressing of documents, the newspaper. Although the occasional sketch seemed to go slightly awry, and there were one or two stumbles, the laughs came thick, fast, and loud, and this show comes highly recommended.

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