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Now that there’s no Broadchurch to keep me occupied on weeknights, on Thursday, Week 9 I ventured out in the Lancaster weather to watch Lancaster University Comedy Institute’s latest sketch show Rainbow’s End. This post-apocalyptic themed show in which protagonist Adam Watts tries to rescue his missing ex-girlfriend from the horrors of the post-apocalyptic society consisted of seventeen sketches, written by several members of the Comedy Institute. However, the various writers were not at all evident in the show’s performance, with absolute uniformity of style between sketches.
Despite the show’s somewhat slow start, it soon picked up pace and it was clear that both the cast and the whole of County bar were having a great time. The biggest laugh of the night was without doubt in response to ‘Dr Casper’, a sketch in which the doctor who created the ‘necropox’ that caused the apocalypse reveals his alter-ego as king of the Cha Cha Slide, DJ Casper. This sketch featured a hilarious performance, including some equally entertaining singing and dancing, from Andrew McKendrick, undoubtedly one of the stars of the show.
Aside from Ed Dearden’s manic performance as the show’s host in ‘Prank Squad’, many of the laughs in this sketch came from its sheer absurdity, which is typical of LUCI. It was refreshing to see Rhianna Tomlinson’s performance in this sketch, amongst others, as the only female in the show. Although it may not have been possible, it would have been nice to see more of a gender balanced cast but perhaps this is something that LUCI will address in their term three show.
Another of my favourite sketches was ‘An Audience with the Mayor’. Featuring most of the cast, we learn about the ascension to power of the colony’s leader, played by Jim Huxter. In LUCI’s post-apocalyptic world, it turns out that all you need to have absolute power is the label from a jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and turn the word ‘mayonnaise’ into ‘mayor’.
The sketches made minimal use of props, with most using a table and chairs and occasionally other simple props such as books, a hat and some makeshift signs. For me, the show’s lack of reliance on props show the calibre of the sketch writing and acting involved.
Whilst some of the sketches had fewer funny moments than others, which led to me sometimes feeling as if I was watching a play as opposed to a sketch show, the overall quality of the show was great. What I find most remarkable is that LUCI managed to pull off such a show alongside all of their other regular commitments, which include: stand up shows every other Thursday in County bar, planning a sketch show to take to the Edinburgh Fringe and Talk of the Devil, their regular Sunday show on Bailrigg.
Overall, a great show and I highly recommend keeping an eye out for LUCI’s future events. Congratulations to all involved, you were excellent.