Comedy Weakly

Wed 9th – Sat 12th November 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 15:48 on 10th Nov 2016

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I had high hopes for Comedy Weakly, but it is with the greatest regret that I write that it lived up to its title. Although lots of aspects of the script were highly promising, the production never really seemed to get off the ground. There were a few laughs, a few good jokes, a couple of good performances, but in spite of all that, Comedy Weakly was a little bit disappointing.

This was not, I don't think, the fault of Rothwell's script. Although not perfect, it contained many a good idea, and some pretty enjoyable dialogue. Particularly effective was a brief, and very surreal intervention from a maintenance man who had lost his overalls, and a brief exchange which revealed family links between one of the panellists and the current (silver-haired, female) prime minister.

There were some good performances too. Comrie Saville-Ferguson was slightly disgusting, deeply recognisable and unexpectedly brilliant as Spunky, a puer aeternis, legacy comedian with a deep passion for his own hand. His were some of the best jokes, and his skilled delivery got a doubtful audience laughing. Will Hall was also great as the male ensemble characters, including the aforementioned underclad tradesman, a Scottish techie trying to deal with a rogue microwave, and a credulous policeman.

Other performances were less assured however, with some characters coming across as a little obvious, recognisable types rather than delicious originals. This may have been exacerbated (although not caused) by the script's slight tendency to write all but a few characters in a similar fashion. For some people, this style was a good fit, for others, it rang a little false.

As the plot thickened, it seemed as though Comedy Weakly was trying to crescendo, but didn't quite have enough breath to do it. Hurtling towards what was no doubt intended to be a climactic, farcical cacophony, the effect fell short and was greeted with more bemused giggling than real laughter.

There were more than a few good performers, a slightly smaller number of good performances, and a fair whack of good writing in Comedy Weakly, and potential seemed to abound. But the promise failed to materialise. The show wasn't awful, but it left the audience feeling a little uncertain, and a little lost. The production failed to do justice to what seemed like a pretty good script. It hurts me to say it, but Comedy Weakly was a disappointment.

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