Aug 3-27 (16.20)
Material: Delivery: Laughs:
Not every comedian or set of comedians can be cutting edge, & Laughing Stock certainly aren’t. The opening sketch takes more than a few cues from Alan Partridge and the familiar territories of “The Battle of the Sexes”, “New Age Mysticism” and “Everyone is Gay,” all well-worn paths and rarely trodden on by more cutting edge comics. However, not everybody wants cutting edge comedy, & Laughing Stock perform their material with wonderful aplomb and meticulous vim; and the fact that one of the performers seemed to have been suffering from a little too much indulgence in the 5am licensing laws only added to the charm. Laughing Stock, while certainly exercising the funny bone, do little in mobilizing the grey matter, but dumb is fun & there is more to this young quartet than meets the eye.
With an ever growing sense of familiarity & comfort I proceeded to chuckle throughout most of the sixty minute duration, and was certainly never bored, which I possibly couldn’t say for any abstract mime retrospectives I might happen across during the course of August. Sometimes the dumber something is the smarter it is. To pull off a truly idiotic sketch with complete conviction and gusto, and not least of all the unblinking confidence that these guys knew they were funny, is the effective & intelligent formula of the hypermodern clown. In a recent interview with the Mumble, Laughing Stock’s Lewis described the ingredients to their sketches as being;
There has to be a game, some jeopardy between the characters that makes the scene interesting and alive. The ‘story’ of the sketch. But that can be absolutely anything. And is always subservient to the funnies. E.g. if there’s just a really funny noise you can make in the middle of this really tense scene, do it – and get offstage. Oh and, of course, my personal favourite, WACKY CHARACTERS!!
Altho’ this may seem like a mixed review, the truth is I enjoyed this show immensely. A bit like re-visiting some old friends you haven’t seen for a while who always make you crack a smile, or re-watching some of those classic nineties comedy shows. At the end of the day, comedy should make you laugh and that is precisely what this show did. Even the mildly inappropriate poignancy of the closing number didn’t steal any of the charm, despite being a tad embarrassing. Never the less, it is a song that is still buzzing around in my head; & as a penner of the occasional humorous song myself, I had to appreciate the quality of the comedy song-writing. If you want to laugh, see this show, if you want your mind expanded buy a nose flute, walk naked through the Gaza strip and live on nothing but beansprouts and eggplant for six months, try elsewhere. I know which I’d rather be doing after a long day at work.
Reviewer : Steven Vickers