I was surprised upon entering the upper floor of The Library pub to find the hall packed to bursting, which promised an intimidating reception for a group of lads performing together for only the second time.
The audience was initially warmed up with standup by Naz Osmanoglu, clad in smart attire and donning a floppy hair-do. His mannerisms and raspy voice were akin to Michael McIntyre’s, as was his typically British style of complaining. His main theme was his Turkish father’s inept social and language skills, which led him on to complain profusely about transport and other public services. The whole audience was cackling. After all, who doesn’t like a good moan? His jokes were often fairly below the belt, with references to chlamydia and a ‘twerking tongue’ and the piece-de-resistance was the closing Britain’s Got Talent parody which included animal cruelty and defecating, ending with the warming phrase ‘fist-fucking Jedward’. Need I say more? He later informed me that his work is not intended as a social satire or ‘as a higher form of art’, so much as a way to make people laugh, and I daresay he succeeded. I only felt a little sorry for a lady in the front, whose purple hat was unnecessarily insulted for a good 10 minutes. He will be performing again February 4 at the same venue with his comedy group ‘Wit-Tank’ (can you spot the pun?).
The sketch show itself was kick started by some classic toilet humour delivered by George Howard, whose resemblance to Ewan McGregor is uncanny. He is one of the most experienced actors of the group, having already co-directed a play for Edinburgh. George ended the scene with a fresh one liner which served as the catalyst for raucous laughter throughout the entire evening. The show included such scenes as relationship counselling between Nick Clegg and David Cameron, insulting Tequila, incest, a blind date with an old woman and a suitably controversial kiss bestowed by Nick Bechman. Admittedly, there were a few too many theatre in-jokes, which aren’t funny unless you do theatre. In fact, they’re mind bogglingly boring. That aside, the night was hilarious, and the group seemed wholly at ease on the stage and with each other, which is surprising given their limited rehearsal period. The group have been rehearsing twice a week for just over a month, and only recently joined forces to produce the series of sketches.
Stephen Rainbird was the dark horse of the evening in my opinion and his facial contortions were unparalleled. His gestures were very much Mr. Beanesque; a childish silliness which had everyone in stitches. The Wuthering Heights routine in particular was nothing short of ridiculous. It surprised me then, to find out that Stephen is the only one of the boys not to be studying in Theatre. He later admitted that rehearsals had been a struggle, given that theatre terminology was an alien concept to him and he confessed that “sometimes you have to blag it”. In other words, there might be hope for us all. The other boys’ experience on stage also shone through, and I was particularly charmed by Sam Newton and Robin Leitch’s kaleidoscope of accents. One minute they were transformed into Scottish sheep farmers, the next as Americans and there was even a dash of Russian.
Overall then, the boys delivered an impressive performance, which bodes well for their future theatre studies and comedy sketches.