From hilarious physical comedy gags to bizarre absurdist sketches, ‘Salt Water’ provided a wonderful evening of entertainment, injecting some badly needed comedy into an otherwise fairly bleak exam term. Billed as a ‘briny fug of absurd comedy’, this one- off show absolutely delivered on its promise and had the packed-out audience in the Corpus Christi Playroom in hysterics throughout.
Footlights veterans, James Coward, Eve Delaney, Christian Hines and Sarah Creedy Smith were all on top form and their vibrant interactions combined with their evident enjoyment in bouncing off each other was hugely entertaining to watch and created an infectious energy that filled the room. Although some elements had a decidedly unrehearsed quality, the spontaneity only contributed to audience members’ (and perhaps also the actors’) enjoyment. This was particularly true in a ‘sea shanty’ scene in which the actors couldn’t see the lyrics to the song held up by Coward on a flipchart sheet, although it was unclear whether or not this was a directorial decision. This gaff was dealt with expertly by the actors, who cheerfully made up the words as they went along, drawing a sarky comment from Delaney at the end of the scene: “that went smoothly”.
The only weak link in an otherwise slick sequence was a sketch about awkward sex between mermaids. Narrated by a seedy American voiceover, Delaney and Hines writhed on the floor to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’, taking it in turns to try and initiate sex, only to realise that neither of them had any genitalia. Although funny at first, the scene dragged on and attracted less laughs than the other, more original material.
An undoubtable highlight was a sketch in which two seagulls (Delaney and Hines) waddled onto stage to steal food and generally annoy the other two. Plunging his beak into a bag of chips, Hines quickly asked the humans if he could ‘stay at yours’ and when offered a sofa that didn’t fold out into a bed, retorted that he wasn’t "an.. animal". Another favourite was a Scooby Doo-esque sketch in which a group of young, dock-working interns are almost conned by a creepy ‘Magic Mike’ character who distracts them in order to steal their treasure. The punchline – “see, you don’t need to drink to have fun” – delivered by Hines, raised an especially raucous laugh from the audience, clearly reminding everyone of the inevitable “I’m not drunk enough for this” following arrival in Cindies. A particular highlight in this sketch was Smith’s depiction of the intern’s boss, ‘Gusty’ who strode across the stage as if constantly battling a gale force wind.
All in all, this was a fantastic show from four actors whose mastery of physical comedy and witty rejoinder shone throughout every aspect of the show, from scripting to delivery.