There is certainly no shortage of good, even excellent sketches in this week’s Corpus Lateshow ‘Hear Hear’ – though there could be more of an attempt to make them into something more cohesive than the sum of their parts. The nominal theme of ‘sound’ was even less important than its somewhat vague description might imply; one gets the sense that it was more an afterthought than a structuring principal. That should not, however, deter one from going to see what is clearly, to judge by the audience’s reaction alone, a very funny example of student writing (by Rosanna Suppa, Kate Reid, and Kyle Turakhia) and performance.
If somewhat slow to start initially, Hear Hear quickly finds its feet after the first few sketches, consistently hitting the mark. Prop and setting use, in view of the limitations of the venue, are especially effective – a sketch involving Neanderthals’ attempts at cookery, as well as an ingenious use of trunk, stand out here – and lighting is both competent and well used. The jokes tend away from the niche, in the main happily: some of the truly hilarious sketches, come towards the end of the production with ‘Darwin Airlines’ and an entertainingly bipolar commentary on a race of Mario Kart by Suppa and Zak Ghazi-Torbati, exemplify this fairly broad appeal. In keeping with these highlights Ghazi-Torbati and Suppa, though occasionally somewhat overdoing their delivery, impress/amuse most greatly in terms of comic performance, though Reid, Turakhia and Laura Inge are also all strong.
As mentioned earlier, the show unfortunately lacks a clear unifying principle. This is perhaps not strictly speaking a problem with the production so much as it is a lost opportunity; those attempts at unity (such a recurring, and indeed quite amusing, satire of certain 20th century American writers’ creations in the character of ‘Frank Louis’) which do make their appearance are insufficient in giving a larger coherence, or indeed distinctiveness. Though overall is very funny, it doesn’t really carve its own niche among a score of similarly ‘Cambridge’ examples of the genre.
Connected with this is a lack of almost anything especially controversial. Though one hardly expects a radical critique of the entire social system as we know it in the space of an hour, a touch more satirically adventurous spirit might otherwise propel the show from the amusing to the memorable. That said, this lack of controversy does lend the show a degree, perhaps, of inclusivity, and complements its welcomingly broad appeal.
‘Hear Hear’ hardly reinvents the wheel, then – but with a consistently amusing, not infrequently hilarious set of sketches, and a slick performance by all concerned, it’s still a good night’s entertainment – if perhaps a somewhat transient one.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.
Hear Hear is on at the Corpus Playroom, 9.30pm, until Saturday. Get your tickets here.