Review: Matt and Marc's Shot in the Dark

Sarah Allidina 13 March 2012

Matt and Marc’s Shot in the Dark

Corpus Playroom, 9.30pm, Mon 12th March

It’s always intriguing when you are handed a white envelope with the words “DO NOT OPEN” on it as you walk into a comedy show. I was actually looking forward to experiencing comedy in a new light – get the joke? – However, to my disappointment any excitement caused by the gimmick faded away ten minutes into the show. This supposedly new and exciting comedy show which takes place in the dark failed to entertain the audience owing to the lack of complete darkness and to the recycling of material by Matt Lim and Ben Pope, who featured in Magdalene’s comedy smoker event last week – a joke just isn’t funny if you’ve already heard it, and it wasn’t entertaining the first time.

Despite the show’s failure to amuse the audience, which was highlighted by bursts of fake and staged laughter by the comedians, there were nevertheless a few aspects of the show that did entertain. Jeff Carpenter on the piano was particularly impressive providing perfect sound effects to complement the sketches, a sketch in a common room featuring the voice of Satan was unique and spraying water at the audience brought an expected, slightly cliched and yet comical touch to the show. If there are any redeeming qualities about comedy in the dark, I have to admit that it’s great to be a critic and not be obliged to engage in banter with the comedian which can become very awkward.

Regrettably some sketches just didn’t work due to the lack of pitch darkness – notably a joke about stripping where the comic threw items of clothing at the audience despite the fact that we could see that he was fully clothed. As my eyes got used to the darkness, the novelty value of the show wore off and any jokes about being in the dark and being unable to see soon began to take their toll. If you’re wondering what was in the envelope and haven’t already guessed, the answer is…wait for it…glow sticks. The glow sticks were definitely the climactic moment of the show which doesn’t say much for the comedy.

Although the concept may have had success at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, unfortunately it was not so well received in Cambridge. Perhaps the title should be renamed ‘Matt and Marc’s shot at but failed attempt of stand-up comedy in the dark’ or alternatively they could provide free shots for the audience to liven up the evening.

Sarah Allidina