REVIEW: Quinoa – A Middle Class Sketch Show
A bit like quinoa itself, this show was a hit and miss mixture of amusement, hilarity and awkwardness.
Supposedly inspired by the ghost of Stephen Fry to deliver the best ever sketch show, Quinoa was a little ‘hit and miss’ with a slightly confusing mix of confusion and laughter attached.
The show started brilliantly; who wouldn’t pay to hear a Stephen Fry sound-a-like yell, “Wake up Snufflecunts!” at sleeping middle-class students? As the show went on, some of the magic of the start faded, and the show lost its identity halfway through with some gags that seemed to have been chosen on how they read on paper, rather than how they tied in with the middle-class nature of the performance.
When the material was strong, the cast were good, particularly in their delivery, and the sketches were powerful and funny in bursts. Elliott Wright and Seth Butcher were both excellent, and the show was at its best when a smaller group of the cast were on stage. The dynamic was great, and they played off each other well.
There were moments of hilarity; the sexual tension of the charcuterie (ever seen a full blooded Spanish sausage and not been slightly aroused?) was played out perfectly by the thoughts of Evie Butcher and the physicality of Stefan Bencik. Each cast member played out their niche well, whether it was Patrick, the abused fat man, or the lizard obsessed, bearded-dragon fighting Michael Tigchelaar.
Even when the material was lacking, the less-funny lines of the show were compensated for by the slightly awkward nature of the cast; Elliott Wright’s winning smile was often enough to make the audience lighten up.
A lot of the sketches could have done with being shorter and the slightly depressing realisation of the final sketch could have been improved with a much earlier fade to black. The same is true of the audience participation; teasing an audience member about their dancing went from funny to cruel in the blink of eye.
That said, Quinoa: A Middle Class Sketch Show is well worth a watch.
A heavily polarised performance that either had the audience in stitches or looking slightly bemused at each other still left me feeling like I had enjoyed myself.