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Leeds Tealights: For Your Sins

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Jason Stone

It's ambitious to attempt around 30 sketches in less than an hour but that's the aim of the Leeds Tealights. Unfortunately, the dynamism generated by this format produces little in the way of memorable comedy, and the audience is left reeling by an unrelenting freneticism, which is often delivered at a volume which suggests the quartet had been told they were performing a charity gig for the RNID.

The best sketch concerns the idea that we all have a list of things we hate. This notion is strange enough in itself but the items on the list surpassed the silliness of the premise and some genuinely good comedy results. If Leeds Tealights devoted more time to comedy based on the clever wordplay used in this sketch and less time to material entirely dependent on shouty performances and tired stereotypes then they might be capable of producing a better show.

There were an alarming number of sketches that should have been dropped, and a lot of them were in the first 20 minutes. So much so that you begin to wonder whether the group are keen to get them out of the way in the hope that the audience might be inclined to remember the better stuff that comes later.; like a child dutifully despatching the Brussels sprouts and broccoli before moving on to the beef and the roast potatoes.

A sketch in which two posh blokes yell endlessly about their love of squash before they start playing a game felt eerily familiar and anyone who couldn't guess the lame punchline probably needs to up their medication. Similarly, a sketch set at a christening hinged on the kind of misunderstanding that you'd expect to see in an episode of Keeping Up Appearances.

The tendency towards brevity meant that the worst sketches were over quickly, but the relief is short-lived when the next one is just as bad.

It's evident that this group's main weakness is their writing and it's difficult to judge the four as performers when they're working with such paltry material. Having said that, one sketch towards the end of the show allowed them to shine regardless of the writing as it required them to move like the puppets from Thunderbirds, like the ancient Pete & Dud sketch. Unfortunately, the challenge appeared to be beyond them and any chance of producing some memorable physical comedy was dashed by ham-fisted movement.

It wasn't all bad though. As indicated above, the sketches built on an original premise showed some potential and Jack Barry stood out as a performer with a degree of charisma that might offer him hope of a future in comedy... but only if he stops settling for mediocre material.

Review date: 16 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Jason Stone

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