REVIEW: Switch: A Sketch Show
Elliott Wright enjoyed the company of these six promising performers
Switch is a sketch show about ‘bodily geography’; the gimmick being that each sketch starts exactly from where the last one ended, albeit for the ‘switch’ of performers and props.
An intriguing concept, but crucially, does it equate to laughs? The answer is, thankfully, yes. Quite a few. The conceit here certainly lending a seamless fluidity to the transitions between sketches, so the eye may focus on what was arguably the true strength of the show; its cast.
No performer in this confident cast of six truly felt like a weak link, though I would have to say the highlight of the show for me was the partnership of Sam Knights and Declan Amphlett. The two’s rapport constituted many of the show’s best sketches (for example, the glorious silliness of ‘Sam and Dec’s pirate sketch’), with Declan ably playing a sarcastic, frustrated straight man to Sam’s unhinged, more surreal personas. This is a double act to watch.
Zak Ghazi-Torbati was another highlight. The natural charisma of this assured performer enlivened the material he was given, and he tackled with equal unflappability a diverse range of roles. Riss Obelensky committed particularly well to the physicality of her characters. Harrie Gooch and Joe Shalom seemed underused as a whole, but contributed well to the sketches they were in, even if they rarely had chance to truly shine. I would have liked to have seen more from them.
The strength of the performances elevated the writing. The script had many good ideas and was densely written, though gags sometimes felt too contrived to fully land; they were often too reliant on puns and repetition, which would have perhaps felt tired and lazy had they not been performed by such an energetic group.
The writers were not afraid to introduce elements of dark humour, which were handled very well and added to the thematic variety of the show. I also enjoyed the humour made at the expense of the performers (for example, talk of Riss Obelensky‘s gap year and Sam Knights‘ keenness in politics); while this could have easily veered into self-indulgence, it brought us closer to the cast, and this injection of personality in part carried the show.
With strong, confident performances Switch is a great showcase of rising talent on the comedy scene, with two or three in particular appearing destined for Footlights fame.
Though the writing was at times bordering on contrived, and some sketches in the latter half of the show outstayed their welcome somewhat, altogether this was a vast, vast improvement on the group’s last effort, The Fresher’s Sketch Show, and a thoroughly infectious evening of comedy from six likeable and very funny performers.