A Different Kettle of Fish
Venue: Rocket – Roxy 2
Date: 22 Aug ’07
Despite the show I was in Edinburgh with being in the same venue as them, and despite several members of our cast telling me it was very good, I completely failed to see WitTank’s “Pop goes the iCulture” last year (when, as a holder of a Rocket Venues performer pass, I would have been able to do so for free). Which, on the basis of this year’s effort, is a shame. WitTank’s was probably the most polished and consistently funny student sketch revue I saw. The sketches come thick and fast enough that you don’t notice the ones that aren’t so special, and there are enough of them that are genuinely interesting ideas, professionally carried through into a sketch.
Nonetheless, what really carries this show is not the material but the performances. The group have developed an affected, overblown style of delivery which, whilst not feeling very original, certainly makes a lot of otherwise-just-quite-good material into actually-laugh-out-loud-funny. Worth a special mention here are Mark Cooper-Jones and Naz Osmanoglu, both very talented comic performers. I suspect that India Rakusen also has the capacity to be funnier than was really evident here; often she was left to play the relatively-straight-man in the middle of a bizarre situation, or came across that way because of the exaggerated performances surrounding her, but a couple of bizarre scenes featuring her alone as some sort of French thing-in-a-white-overall allowed her more understated performance style to shine. Kieran Boyd and Guy Corbett, meanwhile, were perfectly good, but nothing amazing. (I obviously cannot attribute the quality of writing to any of them individually, though, so in no way am I intending to judge anyone’s overall worth to the group, just to review what I saw.)
I would have to say, though, that as much as I liked the show, the funniest thing by far was a bit of kind-of-deliberate corpsing towards the end where one of the cast literally stuffed his mouth with cake over the course of perhaps a minute. As funny as this was, it felt cheap, and served to emphasize the failure of the rest of the show to have us in hysterics at any point. As good as the show was, then, I couldn’t honestly say it was brilliant.