The St Andrews Revue exists as the University’s only standing sketch comedy troupe. The improv comedy group Blind Mirth gives the form a go during each On The Rocks Festival, as does the Comedy Society, yet The Revue is the only student group committed to the form. Unlike the other two groups, they are not affiliated with the Union.
Several years ago The Revue dramatically separated themselves from the Student’s Association over a funding issue and since then they have had a tumultuous time. A penchant for burning through producers and shrinking their cast left some to question whether the Revue could survive the challenges and increasingly crowded sketch comedy market in St Andrews. Rewind has shown that the Revue is thriving.
Some fresh faces, tight production, and a charmingly surreal frame story kept the audience engaged and broke out of the trope of the “hit-miss-hit” format that can plague sketch shows. The show was framed as a police crime recreation, with each of the cast members playing members of the recreation team. Slowly these hardened cops degraded into the cast members that they were supposed to be portraying and they ended up committing the very crime that they were supposed to be solving. Overall the writing was sharp and the performances were effervescently charismatic. The double-act of Cody Dahler and Joe Viner did not disappoint, as their years of partnership in the Revue has developed a fluid chemistry with pin-point timing and characterization. Recent addition Ed Smith was also a stand-out, holding his own as a measured foil to some of the more frenetic cast members.
The sketches were sharply delivered and appeared to be well rehearsed, however, I would have liked to see more biting and anarchic content, either in terms of political satire or swipes at St Andrean contemporaries. The anti-establishment vein running through the Revue has been more spotlighted in the past, and they tend to revel in their provocation. Perhaps the perception of community around On The Rocks supplanted any potentially anti-social gibes, or perhaps the new players have shifted the culture of the group in a more conventional direction. Regardless, a comedy show should primarily be judged based on the audience reaction, and we all were in stitches throughout.
The St Andrews Revue Presents: Rewind was a success by any measure, and I am excited to see what they bring to their month-long Fringe run throughout August.