Durham Revue: Old Habits Die Hard
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Traditional sketch comedy lights up lights down format. The Durham Revue could never function in perpetual light. This show features a number of kooky and zany characters, such as someone in a shop, a person on a bike and a boy. Come soak in our wacky pool of craziness and dry yourself with our joke towel.
The words 'student sketch comedy group' can strike fear into the heart of any Fringegoer, even though many such shows buck expectations and deliver something imaginative and different. Unfortunately, Old Habits Die Hard isn't one of them.
A sketch involving a hard-boiled PI, a sketch set in a public school, a sketch that's repeated with slightly different takes on it throughout the show, and a sketch in which one of the actors is purposely incompetent and the whole thing falls apart. It's cliches of the sketch genre like these that make up half the show.
The other half is certainly more inventive: a man obsessed with butterflies, a terminally ill girl wh just won't die, Top Tramps, a photo-developer that draws the photos with crayons, an overly easy German exam and two feuding magicians. Alas in most of these cases the one-line concepts are pretty much the entire joke, but many of them are dragged out to three or four minutes, becoming increasingly unfunny. When these longer sketches finally end often there's little pay-off in terms of punchlines, often just a blackout or some shouted obscenity.
The performances are pretty good, and set changes are swift and professional, but the writing leaves a lot to be desired. If they drop the more cliched sketches and shorten the more original ones so they're a little more punchier they'll be on the way to a worthwhile show, but they've a long way to go.