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Having been to a few of the esteemed Lancaster University Comedy Institutes bi weekly comedy stand ups before I was excited to see what the society would bring to a sketch show, and its fair to say it didn’t disappoint. With hosts David Duncan and Daryl Griffin taking us through their supposed 50 year anniversary show, a series of random sketches were presented with the help of none other than Jamie Millis, Jim Huxter, Ed Dearden, James Berger, Andrew McKendrick, Elizabeth Swinburn and Henry Banks. Whilst Jack Maidment and Michael Dodds also made an appearance too.
What first stuck me was the sheer atmosphere of the society’s usual venue, County Bar. There was a real buzz working its way through the audience, it was clear excitement had filled the air and I was made to feel very welcome, with people greeting me and such.
The night was filled with fun and frolics, the structure of the show kept the show vibrant and flowing and you were never sure what would come next. The total randomness of the sketches is what made the show so enjoyable, from a communist school inspection, a rather corrupt butcher and a trip through the gates of heaven.
Stand out sketches had to be the reoccurring ‘A Glimpse of Ankle’ with Griffins, McKendrick and Banks. Telling the story of three men having a drink together before and after the war. The sketch was filled with rather fitting political humour, fantastic comic timing and perfect use of the term ‘lads’. ‘The Wishing Robot Dad’ sketch was also a highlight starring Swinburn, Duncan and Mills telling the story a girl who wishes her Dad would just be cool, with disastrous consequences.
The groups sketch ‘Messy Boys’ was used to end the first act and featured all of the cast, it certainly was a huge highlight in the piece. Duncan and Griffin recreate their most famous sketch of boys who get messy, but because they have hired suits with no insurance they attempt the sketch without the mess. This play that goes wrong feel brought all the cast together and demonstrated what a great comedic team the group made and showed the sheer strength of this society.
Besides the groups sketches, the way the cast played with the audience was fantastic, they brought members of the audience to participate in the scene, but not in an overbearing manner and used some of the audience members comments and laughter to improvise jokes of their own in a very professional way. This use of improvisation carried on into the performances themselves. At some points mistakes were made certain props were difficult to move about or people didn’t come on at the correct times. However the way the group worked with and around this made any fault seem purposeful and really helped to create a professional comedy show.
The show’s random sketches, sing songs and audience participation all worked together to create a fun filled night for all. The shows seamless covering or mistakes and all cast numbers really showed how strong Lancaster University Comedy Institute is and the show itself has encouraged me to join next year, it seems like the perfect opportunity for anyone creative or anyone who just wants a bit of fun. It was a wonderful night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am very excited for what the society will create next. The only thing missing was a real appearance from Beyoncé!