The Durham Revue's Christmas Feast

Tue 13th – Wed 14th December 2011

reviews

Julie Fisher

at 23:57 on 13th Dec 2011

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After the sparse audience last week at the Improvised Pantomime, it was refreshing to see the Assembly Rooms much fuller for the Durham Revue’s Christmas Feast. And it was a very appreciative audience who clearly enjoyed the show which the Durham Revue put on for them. The end of every sketch was met with applause, and the amount of laughter rippling through the rows in between made their opinion plain.

The show might not be appreciated by those likely to be offended by jokes about Christianity though. Or literary geniuses. Or the torturing of cute furry animals. Within the space of an hour, the Durham Revue team managed to take the piss out of Admiral Nelson, Beethoven, several of Shakespeare’s works, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins and many, many more. But at the centre of proceedings was the story of Jesus’ life, starting with the social worker visiting Mary and Joseph. More modern references were also interspersed into the show, and by the end of the evening very little terrain had been left uncharted.

As the show operated on a system of sketches, with only around three or four of the seven cast members (Fergus Leathem, Stefanie Jones, Susannah Temko, Elgan Aldermann, Megan Brownrigg, Jack Harris and David Knowles) usually being on stage at any given time, the changeover times between scenes were generally quick, allowing just enough time for the lights to dim and then brighten again before the next sketch was ready to begin. This, along with the variety of sketches being performed, meant that the hour flew by. In fact, in my personal opinion, the show could have benefited from being slightly longer, as I felt that it ended rather abruptly.

Despite the fact that five of them had only recently joined the group, the cast members worked well together in every combination, slipping so effortlessly into new roles that it was almost possible to forget that there were only seven of them. David Knowles was endearingly awkward every time he stepped out onto the stage, Megan Brownrigg showed a remarkable ability to imitate accents, and Fergus Leathem brought a student spin to the story of the Three Wise Men.

So if you aren’t making your way out of Durham as quickly as possible, and you’d like to find out what a badger cat is (thank you, Stefanie Jones!), make your way down to the Assembly Rooms for a night of comedic entertainment.

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