By Honor Douglas
The Durham Revue are back in full force, with some Unfinished Business to show the eager Durham audience. With high energy and a hilarious script, it is clear why their predecessors, Jeremy Vine, Nish Kumar and Ed Gamble, are now the face of British comedy.
While watching the five-strong onstage troupe, it was clear we were in the face of some more future famous comedians. The Revue demonstrated that where there is pure talent and charisma, simplicity does it best. Their usual attire and limited use of props (chairs and handwritten signs) kept the audience on their toes and created a fun and lively atmosphere.
Their energy and confidence were contagious; the performers did not have a moment’s rest throughout. Even in the blackouts between sketches, the audience could see their bodies boogying around to the upbeat, modern music.
Everything down to the music choices was hilarious; after a sketch where an audience member ‘dropped a baby’, the troupe played Snoop Dogg’s classic hit ‘Drop it Like it’s Hot’. The most successful sketch involved music itself, where ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ was heard while ‘Frank Sinatra’ (Charlie Nicholson) screamed to be set free while a voiceover explained that ‘you asked for this Frank’!
The writing was nothing short of spectacular. The Durham Revue’s writer, Ben Lycett’s quick wit and ability to mock the unthinkable is timeless. While several sketches – particularly the longer, less crude, or politically correct ones – did not quite have the same effect on the audience as the majority, it must be said that sketch comedy can be hit and miss. However, after such a long time apart, Lycett’s writing re-established the Revue’s comedic role in Durham Student Theatre.
As with any student performance, particularly after so long apart, perfection cannot be expected. Unfortunately, there were a few occasions where lines were missed due to the music being too loud, and facial expressions and reactions remained unseen due to lighting issues. However, the overall charm and self-assurance of the performers onstage made these issues seem insignificant.
Nicholson’s ability to create humour by using his whole body was superb and contrasted well with Daisy Hargreaves’ hilarious facial expressions, which immediately caused a stir at her command. Lydia Cook’s comedic timing is gold, and Thomas Mullan’s ability to consistently deliver hysterical lines in a deadpan manner is astounding. Finally, former President of the historical Revue Charlie Billingham has confidence that most aspire to.
It is such a shame to see most of these talented individuals leave performing at the University, but what a way to finish. Unfinished Business provided the audience with exactly what to expect from the Durham Revue, a brilliant evening full of laughs. It will be no surprise when we see these faces on the big screens.
Image: The Durham Revue