Democracy: A Sketch Show – Review

WILL POPPLEWELL gives this sketch show a vote of no confidence

ADC Cambridge democracy review sketch show Tab Theatre

I am a fairly easy person to entertain, and I like to laugh. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into Democracy.

Perhaps the premise was flawed. For a sketch show named Democracy, this production failed to either satirise politics or simply put out many funny sketches, let alone balance these two elements that you would expect to see at this show. As the ‘democracy meter’ plummeted throughout the show, so too did my faith in the show.

A subject with great potential for comedy in Cambridge, sadly mishandled.

A subject with great potential for comedy in Cambridge, sadly mishandled.

Molly O’Connor, whom I have seen excel in previous shows such as ‘What Happened to the Lead’, had some life in her performance, but many jokes were lost in a babble of overexcitement and poor diction.

Marcus Colla and Chris Page also both had noteworthy moments in the show, showing that they are clearly capable of decent humour. It just didn’t happen often enough. Other sketches of note were ‘The Priest’s Sermon’ and ‘Free Speech’, both of which were genuinely decent sketches, to my great relief.

Scott Limbrick was the welcome standout performer. Whilst most of his material was no funnier than the general trend, Limbrick’s delivery eked out several genuine laughs from the audience. His ‘Fair-Trade Coffee’ sketch was one of the few truly enjoyable moments of the show.

I was worried that I was stupidly just not finding the sketches funny, but the general lack of applause, and overheard comments from audience members, suggest it wasn’t just me. Five people walked out at various points, and I’m sorry to say that I also wanted to. 11pm is a late slot for a show, and overlong, rambling sketches tested my ability to pay attention.

Perhaps most awkwardly, a running joke of the night was about a helpline to use to escape long, tedious, and rambling sketches. As one woman commented on the way out of the theatre, if only we had had that helpline at hand.

The screeching of the speakers... I wanted to hide.

The screeching of the speakers… I wanted to hide.

The show as a whole was fairly sloppy. Set changes were clunky, and the sound was unbearably loud, to the point that audience members were shielding their ears during videos and changeover music. The use of videos didn’t particularly add anything; most fell flat, and lost what live charm the performers had onstage.

Cambridge Theatre is amateur; people should be able to have fun, try new things, and put on all sorts of shows. They also deserve to know when it doesn’t work. I would never dissuade any of the people involved in this sketch show from doing another production. I just don’t think it worked this time.

42, a 3rd (correction).