In amongst the endless nights of bops in venue 1, Monday night of Freshers week 2012 offered up some comedy for us all to enjoy. Headline act WitTank performed twice with a different student support act opening for them each time.
The first opening act was The St Andrews Revue, who really impressed me with their genuinely funny and sophisticated sketches. I was particularly impressed with the way that Christy White-Spunner was able to continually stare into the middle distance, looking both suspicious and confused, in a way reminiscent of a young Hugh Laurie.
The later show was opened by Blind Mirth who, as improvisational comedians, naturally had some issues over quality control but nonetheless had more good moments than bad.
So how were WitTank then? To be honest I was a little disappointed that I only could only catch the early show in which the audience seemed like they hadn’t had enough to drink and were too self-conscious to laugh. The act themselves however, did not disappoint.
Most famous for their critically acclaimed show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival and their recent appearances on the BBC Three programme Live at the Electric, WitTank arrived in St Andrews as a comedy troupe on the rise. But if you ignore all of their five star reviews and ‘Chortle best newcomer’ nominations, their greatest achievement to date is surely that they have appeared on BBC Three and weren’t actually an abomination, a feat only previously accomplished by the makers of Family Guy.
The trio took to the stage and, after immediately acknowledging how unresponsive and quiet the three hundred sober Freshers in front of them were, set about bringing some life to their audience. Their show consisted of a series of rapid-fire sketches, almost all of which were of a decent standard and were very well performed.
The first member of the trio to shine was Naz Osmanoglu, who performed the part of a pretentious, tweed-wearing idiot very amusingly and in a way that resonated well with the St Andrews crowd.
Next to catch the eye was Kieran Boyd, who showed off both his fresh-faced, Simon Amstell-like charm and his Michael Palinesque ability to play the straight man in a quirky and amusing way.
Mark Cooper-Jones, the final member of the group, appeared at first to be the most conservative of all the performers, a notion which was firmly disproved when he ran on to the stage wearing only his underwear and a rubber glove in his mouth. He thus established himself as a man who takes being very silly, very seriously.
The highlight of their set however was undoubtedly their final sketch where Osmanoglu, obviously angry at an earlier technical error ruining a joke, had the most hilarious improvised mental break-down you’re ever likely to see.
Overall, the night was very enjoyable, and hopefully it will lead to many more comedy nights in St Andrews over the course of the year.
Photos: Ben Goulter