Monday, 23 August, 2010

Free comedy

Edinburgh – Base Nightclub – 11-28 August 2010 – 18.15 (0.50)

Freefall is a totally free, fifty-minute sketch show which struggles to keep its head above water amongst the sea of identical sketch based shows which descend upon Edinburgh every August.  The show is on at Base Nightclub – a cavernous warehouse of a bar.  With its gaudy wall-to-wall mirrors and its ‘rustic’ concrete floors it begs a remembrance of the kind of place you tried to sneak into when you where sixteen.  As the audience sit in their fittingly low budget deck chairs – which have been placed rather haphazardly around the raised dance floor in the corner of the club – the lights go dark.

The show begins with writer and performer, Will Lawton, analyzing the pitfalls of social situations and explaining how to act appropriately within them.  He expressed the importance of straying away from your own opinions and staying within the vague realm of generality – unfortunately and rather ironically the same realm which the majority of the show seemed to reside.

The sketches range quite dramatically not only in subject matter but also in quality.  While there where several pieces which proved to be clever, well written sketches, many of the others felt lackluster and underdeveloped.  One of the standout pieces, however, was a spoof of the famous British television game show ‘Deal or No Deal’. In this version, the contestant (Connor Jones) was playing for much higher stakes.  Instead of just money, he was also playing for his wife and kids who had maliciously been taken captive by a banker who apparently thought himself a bit of a mobster.  The sketch appears to be poking fun at the participants of this and similarly styled game-shows who work themselves into such hysterical frenzies over a mere game and a bit of petty cash.

The wit and humor of the piece however was unfortunately let down by the execution.  The entire show lacked energy and the performers all appeared to have glaring commitment issues.  Successful sketch comedy achieves greatness through a strict precision of the execution.  It doesn’t matter how good the script might be, if the performers do not commit themselves one hundred and ten percent to the material then the show will lag and the audience will become agitated as they try to sneak out the back – as many of them did, regrettably.

Even the technical side of the show was lacking.  Many times not knowing what it was meant to be doing.  More than once within the show the lights would go dark at the end of a scene before coming immediately back on – much to the performers bewilderment – and then back down again.  The same issue effected the music which would play between the segments as well.  There was even a distinct sound of a windows computer rebooting itself after apparently freezing up at one point.

The show might well have untapped potential hidden within it, but the production is in need of a heavy dose of caffeine and a fair bit of focused direction.

Cast Credits: Liz Campbell. Connor Jones. Will Lawton. Chris Royds. Kristin Van Steemburg.

Company Credits: Writer – Will Lawton. Director – Will Kemp. Lighting Designer – uncredited. Sound Designer – uncredited. Technical Operator – uncredited. Producer – uncredited. Company – Out The Window

(c) Carl Livesay

reviewed Friday 20 August 2010


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