Comedy | Friday Night with Jonathan Tealights – love is in the air

Image: Leeds Tealights

4/5 Stars

It’s always worrying for performers, especially comedians, to follow a warm up act as sharp and funny as Goodbear – a comedy duo who managed to command an entire audience to reduce themselves to fits of laughter in the first five minutes without ever saying a word, relying instead on a witty stream of voiceover dialogue. However, as ex-Tealight members, Henry Perryment and Joe Barnes have the sturdy foundations of Leeds’ oldest sketch comedy group to thank for their strong performance.

There was a lot to love in the Tealight’s second show of the year, if not for the theme of love itself. These brilliantly timed sketches were rife throughout, from a marriage proposal gone viral to unrequited brotherly consolation, every gag managed to compound itself from the last with vivacious energy. In a stand out moment in the show, Stephen Rainbird gave a hilarious yet tender anecdotal rant about breaking up a yearlong relationship to commit to rehearsals. His grace and luck with women was further emphasized thanks to a miscommunication between ‘yoghurt’ and ‘yoga’ when trying to woo a member of the audience. With such a strong recurrence of romantically based motifs, it seems odd how such motifs as these didn’t form the backbone of the show, it’s title only being used in conjunction with the opening sketch which sadly wasn’t used as a fulcrum with which to return to.

Having said that, comic timing was frequently brought to the foray thanks to Sam Newton’s blunt, honest humor wonderfully complementing George Howard’s enthusiastic vibrancy on stage. It would have been nice to include ROBIN LEITCH in a few more sketches to incorporate, embolden and ultimately harmonize such a strong array of creative variety.

However, these are small trifles in a show that affirmed the troupes’ ongoing confidence in finding their unique voice. By working on a wide range of subject matter coupled with strong, audacious performances, the Tealights managed to match the level of excellence set by Goodbear. By the time they hone their skills over the summer, culminating in their next performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, they might already be exceeding it.

Ben Meagher

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