Review: Pick Me Up

Martha Fromson 14 June 2013

Pick Me Up

ADC Theatre, Wed 12 – Sat 15 June, 11pm

This was a gently amusing but altogether unexceptional show. It was pleasantly entertaining, but failed to live up to the high standards one normally expects from ADC comedy.

Pick Me Up was essentially a sketch show, albeit an unusually coherent one. Whilst there were some random sketches, most of the scenes were integrated into an overall plot, with later scenes referencing and explaining earlier scenes. There were pros and cons to this directorial decision. On the plus side it really pulled the show together and allowed ideas and jokes to develop over the course of several scenes. However, the focus on plot sometimes undermined the focus on humour; certain scenes were needed to further the plot, but did not provide any particular comic value. For example, the children’s escape from the masked man was sweet, but not particularly funny. Likewise the masked man’s conversation with his blind mother was informative but hardly a source of laughs; the attempt to add humour by beginning the scene with the attempted theft of the mother’s cake just felt forced.

Furthermore, some of the sketches in this show were rather predictable with the repeated sketches involving vicious murder by wasps becoming rather tedious and the train scene in which a man produced a procession of increasingly ridiculous weapons seemed unoriginal. Other sketches simply lacked interesting endings or punch-lines, or ended abruptly, like the scene discussing the appropriate punishment of a pervert.

It is undeniable that there were some hilarious moments in this show. The faux-Shakespeare king-killing scene was original and hilarious, whilst the con-man scene with the repeated rewinds was brilliantly choreographed and very smooth. The sketch about Mario and Luigi was also beautifully choreographed and performed.

However, it is somewhat telling that the funniest moment in the show was entirely accidental. When one comedian accidentally threw his baby doll far too hard and got it jammed in a random cubby-hole the impressive improvisation of the comics was commendable and made up for the dullness of the rest of the scene. Their professionalism in this incident contrasted rather with their behaviour in a later, game-show style, scene, where the flow of the sketch was spoilt somewhat by two actors corpsing before the punch-line.

Overall Pick Me Up was fun and had some good moments. However, it lacked sparkle and some scenes were a bit lacklustre. There was clearly room for further improvement and polish.

Martha Fromson