From guns to J.K. Rowling to Westerns to breasts, this year’s Freshers’ Fringe promises delight from every angle. The one hour fifteen minute show is filled with original ideas, sharp, witty dialogue and crisp talent.
The directorial decision to have the cast in all black, instead of causing the sketches to blend into one another, actually encouraged audience involvement. We audience members were invited to use our imaginations during each performance, making each sketch more distinctive and memorable. Had the costumes been more distracting we would have been more mesmerised by the clothes instead of the acting.
The comic timing from one actor’s line to the other was almost to perfection
Considering the show constitutes solely of freshers, it was impressive to see the confidence with which they brought their characters to life. In one of the final sketches a group of actors, pretending to be elderly people, sat in a semi-circle discussing how easy it is for the youth nowadays. The comic timing from one actor’s line to the other was almost to perfection. Rowan Atkinson would have been proud.
Yet what is even more remarkable about this year’s show is the consistency. There were rarely dips in audience laughter, with almost every performance piece creating an atmosphere that fuelled it. A major part of this triumph is down to the uniqueness of each sketch (as well as the fact that the loudest laughs came from those who knew the performers).
A major part of this triumph is down to the uniqueness of each sketch
Highlights include a sketch concerning two parents eager to get their lazy teenage son out of the house. The dad spins a pseudo-classical tale about a beast and some all-wise being called Tis. After making his son believe that this supposed legend is true, the dad orders him to go to West-Bridgford to hunt down this beast and then wait for orders from Tis, who will magically appear. The son rushes out excitedly, to the relief of his parents.
Another piece guaranteed to floor the viewer takes place before a bible. A busty female performer and a male whose voice resembles the guy from the Big Brother adverts, discuss the breast size of the young man’s current girlfriend. The dialogue is seamlessly interwoven with religious references, made all the more amusing by the young man’s pronunciation of God: ‘go-wad’. Other notable mentions include two students working together on a presentation; bathed in sexual tension, as well as an interview with J.K. Rowling that is perhaps a little too revealing.
It reminds us that acting….. is open to anyone. You just need to be willing
Another factor that ensured the audience didn’t take their eyes off the stage, was the sheer range of performers. They came in their dozens, in all shapes and sizes, of which the variety allowed for a multitude of different characters. Furthermore, it reminds us that acting, and in this case the New Theatre, is open to anyone. You just need to be willing.
If anything was missing, it was a theme binding all the mini-performances together
If anything was missing, it was a theme binding all the mini-performances together. This would have added a sense of cohesion to the show, sweeping the audience along as opposed to jaggedly cutting from one performance to the next. However, the sharpness of this cut and paste style, punctuated with familiar tunes during the blackouts, arguably helped to retain audience attention. After all, comedy revolves around precision.
Nottingham New Theatre’s Freshers Fringe is light-hearted, great fun, and you will certainly be leaving the theatre with a smile.
The Fresher’s’ Fringe is on at Nottingham New Theatre tonight, for more information and to book tickets see here