The Reduced Shakespeare Company team now turn their hand to cinema, following previous spoofs of the Bard, the history of the world and the Bible. But their new target - although ripe material on paper - fails to scale the dizzier heights of their prior efforts. Opening with a spoof of silent movies that is both cringe-worthy and unfunny, the jokes are underwritten and childlike.
Once the audience participation elements appear, the humour is much more evident and does indeed bring a smile to your face. Finding out the audiences' favourite films is interesting because it shows what a cross section of people you are with. But then to include members of the audience as extras in the film they are creating on stage is lazy and highlights the lack of narrative.
Many jokes are stretched beyond breaking point. One Rocky IV sketch seems to last forever, and this film is hardly prime send-up material. But like much of this scattershot approach to comedy it only serves to show how thin the concept really is. The performers are enthusiastic and have a good rapport with the audience. Adam D Millard deals with latecomers with relish and David Menkin's energy stops attention from waning. It's a shame, then, that writers/directors Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin provide them with so little to work with.
To include the quote "dying is easy, comedy is hard" into an unfunny show such as this is surely asking for trouble. But just when you think you have seen enough humourless skits, another one is ready to die like a lemming falling off the stage. This show feels like it was written by four university students on a drunken night out and then performed the next day with no read through.
There's a saying that a comedian is only as good as his/her audience. Many patrons on the night I attended left at half time, but who can really blame them?
- Glenn Meads (reviewed at the Manchester Opera House)