Yellow: A New Sketch Show

ELEANOR OGILVIE reviews A New Sketch Show and is made to face a difficult question: can interpretive dance save the world?

24 hour players ADC alex mackeith matty bradley Comedy eleanor ogilvie Emma sidi interpretive dance jon bailey matilda wnek

By Matilda Wnek, Matty Bradley & Jon Bailey.

ADC Theatre, 11pm, Wed 23rd – Sat 26th January, Wed £5/£4 & Thu-Sat £6/£5.

Combine smart writing, four of Cambridge’s funniest people, a ukulele, a wardrobe and several tampons, and you’ve got one of the daftest and yet most intelligent collection of sketches ever to hit the ADC.

Starring Matilda Wnek, Emma Sidi, Alex MacKeith and Matty Bradley, all regulars on the Cambridge comedy scene, this sturdy foursome carried the compilation of twenty-five sketches from start to finish with gusto and copious amounts of enjoyment on their part. Whether diving in and out of a ‘Transfiguration Machine’ (presumably the same that featured in the 24 Hours Plays. Ed.), donning crazy gorilla masks or line dancing frantically around the stage, this energetic troupe let go of all inhibitions, resulting in a raucous auditorium filled with huge grins at curtains down.

The script had the perfect balance of basic yet effective sketches, combined with more involved, cleverly written pieces incorporating current affairs, stereotypes and tongue-in-cheek humour. One minute we were witnessing the simple concept of an Olympic hiding match, whilst the next we faced a “martial ban” campaigner who was, in fact, unknowingly encouraging male troops to join an overseas terrorist group. The contrast between these two levels of comedy worked well to keep the audience alert, and the links drawn between all the sketches were subtle, skilfully sewing the performances together.

The staging and production of the show were self-proclaimingly “low budget”, but this was to the show’s advantage. A well-crafted soundtrack, the few simple props and the set, consisting of just a beautifully crafted wardrobe and a couple of chairs, gave the audience a blank canvas from which the crazy world these scenes inhabit might emerge. This world is one of ever-defeating living slot machines, demon attacks at the mention of a single word, and invisibility cloaks, obviously still in the testing stage, which fail to conceal sounds. Never again will I view Harry Potter’s in the same way…

However, although mostly fast-paced, there were (as ever with these things) a couple of sketches that dragged on and failed to hit the right spots. The concept of the pointless awards ceremony was a good one, but was unfortunately spoiled by the loss of a few words in the fast stream of speech, and the ending did little more than leave the punters confused. Kudos, however, to Sidi for her Spanish acceptance speech; my limited A-Level knowledge of the language led me to believe that these writers might be equally as witty in foreign tongues.

A few teething problems aside, what I really loved about this show was that we were forced to face important questions we might never have thought would bear any significance on our day-to-day lives. How does a man wearing thousands of layers save a drowning woman? What is revealed if your pacemaker comes into a five-metre radius of an industrial strength magnet? And, most importantly, how could interpretive dance (masterfully performed several times over by MacKeith) save the world from a monkey-controlled time button? All will be revealed in this innovative, insane, must-see sketch show.