The Oxford Revue
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
This uproarious show transfers from the Oxford Playhouse and demonstrates that the current talent in the Revue is more than equal to their glittering alumni. Enjoying a fabulous sell-out year.
Itís always something of a disappointment when student comedy troupes, from where the next generation of stars might be expected to spring, seem so wedded to he past.
Thatís the case with the Oxford Revue, founded, it says on the programme, sometime in the Fifties, and apparently barely changed since then. There may be reference to mobile phones and iPods, but the songs, the blackouts and the rather formal presentation of the material is very traditional in form.
The troupe have had some good ideas within that framework, and an occasional winning turn of phrase, but nowhere near enough to convince this is anything special, with many skits virtually laugh-free.
Favourite is a sort of modern-day E. L. Wisty, a weirdo who strikes up a conversation on a train of utterly bizarre banality. Another sketch Ė the only one when the entire seven-strong cast is on stage Ė gives them all various one-line afflictions, showing a nice pace and ingenuity.
Performances are solid enough, even if they cannot advance anything beyond the idea were are watching actors in a formal sketch show, rather than anything more realistic or subversive. And most the one-dimensional characters arenít the sort of people Iím all that interested in.
Possibly a minor point, some aspects of the actual staging are ill thought-through; never more so than the upper-class foxhunter who wears a cheap anorak that might once have graced the rails of Matalan.
As one of the sketch shows that seems almost guaranteed an audience because of its history as well as from friends and fellow students, it would be nice to see them take a few more risks with the content.