Dutch Elm Conservatoire in Prison

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett


No ifs, no buts this is a wonderful piece of work and sets
the example for other sketch groups to follow. Five comic actors
play a number of roles without cartoon gurning or tedious hyperactivity.
It's pacy, well written and with some great songs. There are
splendid throwaway lines and excellent wordplay, but none of
it is strained or forced, and importantly, no groaners.

They loosely peg the show on the prison drama genre, with
a nod to many films and to my mind more than passing acquaintance
with Chicago. It's great to watch, physically very fluid,
good use of lighting, with economical costume changes and a couple
of wigs used to good effect because they're not overdone. There
are some wonderful bits of silliness, but at no time does the
piece break its own logic.

With such skilled ensemble work it is difficult single out
individual characters, but the world's most mild-mannered, hangdog
rapper, Furious P will live in my mind's eye for a while yet
along side Prisoner Wendell and his pet butterfly. I didn't want
this to end, I'd happily see a double length show from the Dutch
Elm Conservatoire

Julia Chamberlain


Review date: 1 Jan 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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