Review: Virgin Smoker 2

Gracey Milk 5 November 2013

The Virgin smoker is an odd concept: a one-off show consisting of performers completely new to smokers. It probably shouldn’t even be reviewed because I don't know anyone's names, but it was sold out and I wanted to see it.

The smoker was predominantly stand-up based. The Playroom can be a difficult room to play to and I sympathise with students trying to deliver three minute long sets for the first time in a confusing venue to a sober audience.

Many were understandably nervous, but there was definitely a lot of potential on show. One girl who talked about fairly safe topics like fresher’s week had a very likeable persona. Another interesting performer was a guy who based his set on colours of the rainbow: he showed a lot of confidence and an ability to experiment.

A few performers had some good jokes but were uncomfortable on stage, while others had good stage presence but haven’t quite developed the punchiness needed for stand-up. Please do not feel discouraged though, because this early on your strengths are more important than your weaknesses.

The highlight of the evening was definitely Amy Biggadike, talking about the perils of having an unfortunate name (ha, Amy is a silly name). She immediately established a good rapport with the audience and was one of the few stand-ups who already felt natural on stage.

The few sketches on display were fairly well-paced and tight. I was often impressed by the level of performance in these, such as a sketch that was little more than a typical brother and a sister, which was propped up by some good character-acting. Another example was a sketch parodying of pretentious acting monologues, which had a well performed piece about my favourite substance: milk.

Overall, the performers did well to work the slightly bizarre atmosphere of a Virgin smoker. Doctors in training have to work on live patients just to know if they can, sometimes before they even learn what a lymphatic urinary node is. That’s exactly what this was and, luckily, no one died.


Rating: N/A