Review: Comedy Soc's 'Sketchpad'

Last night, I was invited along to Comedy Society’s sell out performance of ‘Sketchpad’. I will make myself clear from the onset; the nature of this show was such that […]

annex Comedy review sketchpad society Southampton Theatre University

Last night, I was invited along to Comedy Society’s sell out performance of ‘Sketchpad’.

I will make myself clear from the onset; the nature of this show was such that I don’t believe a star rating will do it justice. The evening consisted of over 30 original sketches, some that worked very well and others that didn’t, and so it would be highly unfair to give a star rating to what was collectively a great evening.

First things first, I personally think that collecting and performing 37 original sketches is quite astounding. I came expecting a short show, and to be presented with a whole evening of entertainment was very much a nice surprise. Comedy Soc should be really proud, encouraging people to write is extremely difficult and so establishing this bank of writers so early in the year can only be a positive sign for the society.

Moving onto the sketches and performers themselves, one of my highlights was Jeremy Hunt’s performance of his own song ‘Thin Walls’. The song hilariously blended together experiences that we can all relate to, having experienced student accommodation and its ‘Thin Walls’. Hunt’s natural talent shone through when performing, the only criticism would be to work on his diction and projection so that everyone in the room can hear. I have no doubt however that he will go far.

Alexandra Coles’ talent is also one not to go unmentioned. One of her sketches named ‘Fourth Wall’ was extremely clever and showed promise. Her other sketches may have been better received had they been performed by stronger actors. This was quite a major problem throughout the evening. Once I got past many cringe worthy performances and unintentional awkward silences, it was clear that most of the writing showed potential. Having said this, no performer was truly awful, it takes great courage to haul yourself onto stage and try to be funny. The only way that the performers will get better is practice and this in turn builds confidence. There were very clear signs that some of the performers were extremely nervous and unfortunately this hampered delivery and execution of lines. This is quite understandable when for many of the performers, this was their first time on stage, which should obviously be commended.

Equally, some of the sketches should have been more thoroughly edited. A couple of them contained some rather vulgar and completely out of taste jokes; bestiality and domestic abuse to name just two. When writing comedy, sometimes things seem funny, but when actually said out loud, the words can often have the opposite effect. It’s true that comedy is about pushing the line as far as possible, but on the other knowing when to stop is imperative.

A good comedy show always has a hilarious Improv section, ‘Sketchpad’ did not disappoint. The two sections were strategically placed to keep the audience engaged, and judging by some of the contributions from the audience for the performers to act out, this proved successful. My favourite moments from these sections have to be ‘Dale Winton’s Dyson Nightmare in Spanish’ and ‘Harry Potter on cocaine’. These were perfectly co-ordinated by Joe Hart who also acted as the host for the evening. Hart oozes stage presence and talent. Even when performing material of lower quality, he still managed to make it funny. His sketch ‘Superhero’ has to be one of my favourites from the evening. Hart’s ability to write intelligently and accurately deliver the lines is quite honestly amazing. Similarly, Jed Marshall also shone. Marshall also has great stage presence and comic timing; this was evidenced by the many times that he was on stage carrying the show by himself. My favourite sketch of his has to be his take on ‘Rock-A-By-Baby’.  However, when Hart and Marshall teamed up, they often delivered some side splitting jokes and sketches!

In summary, Comedy Soc put on a great performance showcasing the amazing talent within the society and their potential for the future. Personally, I really now want to see Comedy Soc do some pure stand up as this is a whole other skill. I would like to thank them for inviting me along, it was thoroughly enjoyable.