As a regular attendee of The St Andrews Revue’s shows, you can come to expect a few things. One, it will be a sell-out. Two, also attending will be that one guy who has a really bizarre laugh. Three, you’ll barely hear him because you’re laughing so much yourself. The Crass Menagerie opened at the Byre Theatre on Thursday night to a captive audience with their strongest performance to date.
The Revue’s greatest strength is its easy cohesion. Its members have a broad range of aptitudes and talents, not least including sheepish delivery of puns, uncontrollable bouts of rapping, adept maintanance of near-constant apopleptic rage, and swift consumption of phallic fruits. Nevertheless, the best sketches arose when they all appeared together and adroitly blended their stage personas with those of, respectively, members of an a capella group under a vow of silence and a group of masterminds planning the end of the world via facebook. Indeed, the cast seemed significantly more at ease than in their previous performances, and gave themselves more of a free reign to run with the jokes and amp up the raciness (see the porn film stage-hands at lunch and a skit which combined Casablanca, the Badlands, and the 1940s version of sexting).
While one rather sweet scene of two provincial travel agents felt a little Catherine Tate-esque, my personal favourite – involving a botched biography, the account books of a moor farm and the words ‘Heath Ledger’– produced audible groans. And although the songs drew roars from the audience at first, they could perhaps have been a little shorter. However, these criticisms are, to an extent, thrown in for the sake of balance.
The spectators at The Crass Menagerie appeared to most enjoy the St Andrews references to the Travelator and the KK debacle, but the Revue’s appearance in the Fringe will have to be marked by some broader allusions, as well as less of a reliance on an audience made up of friends and acquaintances. I will most definitely be looking up the show in Edinburgh this August, cherishing the vague hope of once more seeing Joe Fleming in a ‘sexy devil’ costume.
Photos taken by Jake Threadgould, edited by Will Moore. Compiled by Annie Faichney