four stars
It’s nothing less of an honour to be reviewing The Revue – a group of talented performers, from the University of Liverpool, that can induce inevitable laughter in you throughout their whole performance; addressing literally every possible topic that could tickle your fancy.

The Liverpool Revue has a highly polished format – a line-up of five comics, selected carefully for their wit, who have worked together all year to create a refined sketch-peformance combo that will leave you craving more. The Revue, regulars at the Fringe, are heading up north after a series of very strong and well-attended performances in Liverpool this year, having Revue-d (you’ll be glad to know that none of the sketch ideas I sent in were selected for their Edinburgh performance) their selection of sketches and narrowed them down to only the very best for the Fringe.

Their trademark self-awareness and entire lack of pretence in performance, sets them apart from your average student comedy troupe. From the beginning, a meta-atmosphere is set, as Imogen Wignall, one of two heads of the troupe, is making her way to the very performance you’re watching in a taxi with a driver who is less than a fan of female comedians. This atmosphere is sustained throughout the whole performance – whether in the comedic criticism of the Snickers adverts that we all both love and hate or in a reenactment of Sin City, highlighting the equal measure of cool and laughable material in the classic noire-style narration (done by the other head of the troupe – Dominic Davies).In each case, you’ll know exactly what these guys are riffing on, but you’ll ask yourself – ‘How have I never thought of this!?’.

The Revue take you into the world of laughable awkwardness, laughable pompousness, laughable ambition, marketing, relationships, and even politics, without being overtly political. A prime example of this is a sketch involving the ridiculous paranoia of a man (played by David Jones) with a hatred for communism, convicting a young couple of ‘sharing love!’ ‘sharing affection!’ ‘splitting the bill?!’ and ‘equally distributing bodily fluids!’.

The absurd is a trademark element of the troupe and arises in sketches such as Men Under the Hammer (with an actual hammer), being, whilst not to everyone’s taste, a useful tool to stop the possibility of the show being overly scripted and help build the meta-atmosphere that makes every sketch so strangely relatable. As well as random outbursts of absurdity, the smaller absurdities of life are a reoccurring theme, from the manic Mr Gillette (played by Shaun Murray), who is struggling in the face of the hipster beard, to John the news reporter (played by Greta Sion), who is once and for all trying to find out why Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best qualified candidate for the role of Governor of California.

Possibly most symbolic of their style, the show comes to an end with a sketch, which categorically questions sketch comedy as a genre. In the end, you’re left unwilling to leave this tragi-comic mindset of humorising awkwardness and melancholy, wanting more of the Liverpool Revue and already choosing your seats for the following evening’s performance, before heading back to the deep dark streets of the real world.

You can see the Revue as part of the Free Fringe!
The Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68) , The French Quarter
6 – 13th August 2016, 14:40

The Revue All