Review: York Comedy Society's The Dead Duck's preview performance of 'The Abominations of Comedy'

08/08/2022

Bailey Mcintosh reviews the preview of the University of York Comedy Society’s 'The Abominations of Comedy', which will be performed at Edinburgh Fringe

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Image by The University of York Comedy Society

By Bailey Mcintosh

In the small Friargate Theatre, The Dead Ducks sketch comedy troupe previewed their Edinburgh Fringe performance: ‘The Abominations of Comedy’. Created by Will Osbon, a small cast of five members and their director, Tegan Steward, brought to life a fast-paced, immersive collection of skits that had the audience laughing from start to finish.

Opening in a laboratory, we were introduced to each of the ‘abominations’ by the narrator. However, although the narrator brilliantly set the tone at the beginning of the performance, it became increasingly difficult to hear the dialogue and understand the relevance of the laboratory plot with each spooky voiceover. From the second the show begins, however, there is an obvious passion and commitment that each actor puts into their performance. This truly eased any scepticism from the start and helped the audience to immediately feel immersed in the show.

With limited reliance on lighting and props, the hilarity of the script was able to truly shine. Utilising mundane day-to-day interactions, there was an element of simplicity in the humour of the sketches; a factor that worked well for their short and quick method of hitting the punchline. Although the delivery of the jokes was brilliant, the audience was given little time to appreciate and applaud between sketches, as they were interrupted as the next jokes began.

Each actor’s performance was markedly different from the next, despite the continuous change of character. You can clearly see how each actor has an individual strength in comedy, and the cast did a brilliant job of playing to that. From Tommy Harris’ eccentric characters (notably his traumatic retelling of the mouse trap, with which he certainly captured the audience), to Eloise Ward’s reliance on realism and drama to create a sense of irony (especially with her self-doubt over being a good boy).

Finishing the show, the cast turned to involving the audience within the skit, adding an element of comedy to asking for a round of applause. The audience was delighted to join in praising the show, feeling as though they had only been sitting watching the show for hardly any time at all. In summary, I think there was a real sense of professionalism throughout the performance and that this hilarious troupe will be an excellent addition to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Star rating: four stars