Review: Hissy Fit

Isabel Adomakoh Young 22 October 2014

The one-off nature of the ADC’s Tuesday late shows often allows for something a little more left-field than the main billing, and a less packed audience allows for a relaxed atmosphere that's closer to cabaret than Coriolanus.

Hissy Fit was just this – a brilliant, if far from slick, evening with two charming comedians and their collection of oddball friends– also known as guest acts. The premise was the "genuine romance in the form of best friends" between Josh Chana and Luke Sumner; almost lifelong, it developed from dressing up in skeleton costumes and posing in front of radiators aged 8 (as we see in the promotional material), to creating hilarious sketches for an appreciative university audience some years later. Their bonding was used to brilliant comic effect; they frequently drew each other aside to critique one another's performances so far: "OVER-ACTING? I call it committing!", "It's very intense for me and the audience." But it was also genuinely touching, like when the show paused halfway through for 'Photo Time!', and they gave out A4 prints of their shared childhood snaps, eliciting equal amounts of laughter and cooing from the crowd. They're a great comic match – a message from their "sponsors" Fez went down well, advertising "punchlines that are gonna drop harder than a beat by Napper Tandy" and "Hissy Fit: fit jokes, fit blokes" in pitch-perfect club promoter voices.

The guest acts were a little more hit and miss, but the top-hitter was certainly Archie Henderson, fellow Footlights committee member, who warmed the crowd up no end after a slightly shaky start to the show. Archie's morose, inept spiritualist alter-ego Kevin Wondermoon read his own palm and then, sensing that his audience volunteer's name was "Notsusan", recounted his prediction that "she will have skin the colour… appropriate to her ethnic origin" and "a face…". It all went very meta when she had to catch up with his predictions by acting on them, until finally "There will be an awkward pause."

Comedy scene regulars Ken Cheng and Ted Hill's standup segments received a mixed response, but a great line about family dinner after the opening night of Oedipus from Ken, and Ted's story about rating a flasher's dick out of 10, won us over. Plus, anyone (Ted) who can invent the line "naked as the day I was disciplined by college", is alright by me. Adrian Gray, the fourth Hissy Fit Footlight of the night, treated us to a bafflingly surreal but weirdly genius critique of Star Wars, where he objected to the giant CGI beat-boxing toilet brush replacing Luke Skywalker in the Death Star control room scene.

After an emotional reunion between Josh and Luke (who'd parted ways over whether Ted would want a cup of tea now or later, and had to double check during his set: a moment of comedy gold), the show finished up with everyone singing along to Josh on the guitar, and we left feeling elated if not overwhelmed.


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