The St Andrews Revue: an Olympian Performance

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The St Andrews Revue returned, shorn of some of its cast from last year, but still promising to deliver its trademark mix of sketches, quick-fire gags and musical pieces. That promise was kept, with the show’s very best twisting our own familiar experiences of this little town to rapturous laughter.

 

Taking place on St Valentine’s Day, the show – titled ‘A Public Show of Affectation’ – did not lose the opportunity to poke fun at love, relationships and couples. From pairing the troupe members off with each other at the very start to recreating the wedding of St Andrews’ most famous couple at the show’s finale, there was as much love as there were laughs at its expense.

 

The cast, made up of very different but complementary personalities, knitted together excellently; all pulled their weight in order to make the show succeed, and none felt like a spare part. From the often surreal and flamboyant performances of Lorenzo De Boni and Inez Gordon to the (deliberately) more standoffish and awkward contributions of Joe Fleming and Shayna Layton, each had their role in making the sketches come off.

 

The St Andrews Revue - combining love and laughs

 

I have tried to characterise these members of the troupe to some extent, although it must be said that all eight performers were not ‘typecast’. Rather, they all demonstrated an ability to diversify their comedy and say or do the unexpected. There were very few moments in the show that one might describe as predictable – the sketches ‘Forest’ and ‘Pub’ were two clear examples of the audiences’ expectations being led into a dark alley and bashed over the back of the head.

 

‘Musical Interlude’ and ‘Office Party’ allowed Amanda Litherland, Mimi Von Schack, Will Moore and Christy White-Spunner to show their ability to integrate musical talent (guitar, maracas and torsos all put to good use) into their comedy.

 

Famous faces, meanwhile, were not safe – Sue Barker, Santa Claus, the Grinch, Boris Johnson and even God found themselves the targets for the cast’s range of visual gags and biting parodies.

 

But they say that ‘home is where the heart is’ and the lampooning of St Andrews, the University and its students brought the strongest comedy and biggest laughs, most notably in the brilliant ‘Library Olympics’. With the St Andrews stereotypes we come across every day, the frustrations and pitfalls contained within the Library and all the drama that unfolds within its walls (especially come exam time) as students fight tooth and nail to secure a seat or corner of desk-space, this sketch was superb from beginning to end.

 

For someone who appreciates parodies at least as much as any other strand of comedy, ‘Library Olympics’ was a delight, and if there was one sketch that one could describe as ‘laugh-a-minute (or second)’ it was this one.

 

It is, I suppose, the sign of a top-drawer performance that it felt far shorter than its actual duration (just over an hour) and the audience was left wanting more. ‘A Public Show of Affectation’ was brilliantly-crafted, appearing neither too scripted nor hastily improvised.

 

As in any show, some sketches outshone the others (the closer to St Andrews the brightest), but they were solid throughout and came to a fitting and hilarious conclusion in the Library and Westminster Abbey. I for one hope that it will not be too long before we discover the final destination(s) of the next Revue.

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