Review: Comedy Weakly

Pippa Smith 12 November 2016

The production of Comedy Weakly at the ADC promised a humorous retreat from the Trump situation that has occupied all thought for the last few days, although, unfortunately, it did little to satisfy the much needed hunger for belly-aching laughter.

To put it bluntly, it wasn’t that funny. The comedy was not of the usual standard which graces Cambridge theatre, in the sense that it wasn’t very intellectual or witty. Instead, there was a lot of useless dialogue between the actors, who delivered the jokes with more flourish than they actually merited. It resembled more of an improvised sketch from the days of high school drama classes, where there was never any anticipation that people might watch, than a polished production. 

The play lasted less than an hour, but the time dragged on and the odd audience member could be seen checking their phone. On reflection, I was shocked that this was successfully pitched to the ADC, that such a show had been performed on its stage and that the basic premise had gotten past any previous script checks. The plot, characters and quality of the comedy were not up to scratch, which is a shame considering so much could have been done with the material and set-up they had.

The cast were good actors; they delivered their lines with as much flair and enthusiasm as could be asked, but the script itself was alarmingly weak: essentially, the whole night was doomed from the start. With characters such as a 105-year-old, the prime minister and a sex-hooked, molly-coddled man, there can only be so much achieved beyond an infantile humour. The cast lavishly lived up to the stereotypes their roles occupied, but ultimately, this led to something incredibly cheesy, especially considering the limitations of the script.

The audience it seemed, laughed politely along, but at times, there was a sense of bewilderment and embarrassment about the fact that what was being witnessed was meant to be amusing.  There were some funny one-liners, but they were too few and far-between to weigh out the negatives of the performance.

The set was fun and fitting, but the gap between the quiz-show-vibes and the comedic performance itself was so large that this couldn’t be made use of effectively.  Overall, the production was unimpressive, but this does not mean it isn’t worth going to see if all you want is a break.