Anthony: A Sketch Show

MEGAN DALTON is thoroughly impressed and endlessly entertained by the surreal comedy of ‘Anthony’.

Anthony a sketch show cambridge comedy Comedy culture eleanor colville jamie armitage kyle turakhia Lily Lindon Raphael Wakefield Theatre

Corpus Playrooms, 9.30 PM, October 6th – 8th, £6/£5

Anthony is quite simply the funniest sketch show I have ever seen in Cambridge.

The troupe produce sketch after well-developed sketch with a consistency of quality that is very rarely seen in student comedy. Its unique brand of humour is as wonderful as it is weird; its sharp intelligence deftly balanced with a charming lack of pretension. 

This sketch show wins its audience’s favour before the house lights even go down. Upon entering the playroom, spectators are immediately engaged by the five actors in a silly and eclectic mixture of games. The performers adopt a demeanour which is child-like in both temperament and attention span, so that their relationship with the audience is of a rapidly shifting dynamic.

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The cast show off their acting ability by pulling faces (credit: Robert Eager)

Utterly endearing and kind in one moment, the actors will suddenly be unashamedly rude to audience members. It’s an impressive feat to have an audience utterly on your side before the show has even begun. But it’s impressive on another level to achieve this having just brutally smashed up your audience’s new found imaginary orchestra.

The combination of this charmingly childish pre-state with the show’s look – a set and costumes featuring every colour of the rainbow – sets up the atmosphere for an evening of outrageously silly, innocently fun comedy. However, the show’s sense of humour is infused with a darkness. Anthony’s treatment of taboo subjects is made all the more hilarious by the audience’s surprise at these subjects’ being there at all.

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More comic faces (credit: Robert Eager)

The main reason for the successful inoffensiveness of the show’s offensive content – and indeed one of Anthony’s greatest triumphs as a show – is the strong narrative of its bold and bizarre sketches.No joke is made to feel gratuitous. These writers have a remarkable knack for the rapid creation of surreal yet logical worlds, and an equally deft insight into character development.

The cast is able to pull the audience into a succession of diverse scenarios, each as convincing in its craziness as the last. And the consistency with which they do this is a testament not only to the intelligence of their writing but the quality of their acting. All five give strong and nuanced performances, with each of them particularly excelling in their use of physicality. A special mention should go to Eleanor Colville for her impeccable comic timing and vocal range: her depiction of the deranged boss of the second floor is some of the best comic acting I have ever seen.

Anthony has it all: a quirky and distinctive style, a bold aesthetic, startlingly intelligent writing, and excellent acting. It truly is a triumph, and I wait on the edge of my seat to see what these five incredible talents produce next.