The St Andrews Revue released their ‘The Crass Menagerie’ upon the audience of a sold out Byre Theatre tonight, and it appears a little zoological anarchy is the perfect antidote to mid-April essay blues.
The second performance of the semester for a still young troupe – and launch-pad for a well-earned run at the Edinburgh Festival in August – this was a more risqué and provocative show than previous efforts, which threw sex and swearing in to the tried-and-tested mix of performance comedy, St Andrews references and Joe Fleming’s groan-inducing puns.
The individual and collective performances of the Revue continue to impress, seeming more confident and relaxed together than in the Valentine’s show ‘A Public Display of Affectation’.
Particularly, Inez Gordon and Lorenzo De Boni as a Hollywood ‘Golden Age’ couple divided by social class – and the Travelator – was a well-scripted and brilliantly performed sketch which riffed on classic and modern cinema and had a startlingly raunchy turn of pace. Similarly, Will Moore’s comically angst-ridden poem was fantastic (and a little close to the bone unfortunately); while it was nice to see Fleming emerge from his well-suited role of fussy spoil sport, if a little less pleasant to see him emerge in a dress and high-heels.
Some of the more racy sketches didn’t come off quite so well, with a somewhat strange joke about pornography stage-hands (the pun, as ever, intended) doing its best to undermine the later criticisms of a sexist KK. A witty sequence about the apparent pointlessness of an atheist society left me wondering if it was a dig at the real St Andrews Atheist Society, and if so, why the Revue, so sharp previously in its comments on the Library and on Royal Wedding mania, had chosen to launch a broadside at a relatively obscure and unassuming society.
But laughs are not difficult to come by at a ‘home game’: some people were happy to giggle just at the sight of a few friends being daft on stage. Edinburgh will be another matter, and the site-specific gags will likely need replacing for an international audience. But with a talented ensemble which clearly knows how to please its overflowing audiences, they look set to deliver more ‘Croco-smiles’ (Shayna Layton’s show stealing gag from the opening scene) on the back of this performance.
The St Andrews Revue are: Lorenzo De Boni, Joe Fleming, Inez Gordon, Shayna Layton, Amanda Litherland, Will Moore, Mimi von Schack and Christy White-Spunner.