Student comedy nights often present a mixed bag, normally in terms of quality as well as style. Luckily for the audience, the Oxford Revue's first Audrey of 2017 presented variety in the latter but not so much the former; the acts were consistently funny and well performed. It was an evening of two halves, with a smoothly organised set-list compered competently by the likeable Olly Jackson. He warmed us up with charm and effortlessly kept the ball rolling all the way through the night.
Of course there were acts and sketches, within the nine sets performed, which stood out. In the first half, Jamie Onslow with his tongue-in-cheek stand-up was very funny. It was fairly gentle and well-pitched (bar one oversight about tight spaces which I'm willing to overlook on this occasion) and he balanced repetition with surprises like a pro. It was stylishly delivered; refreshing to see sarcasm performed with a winning smile.
Olley Matthews with his badly sung (he admitted it himself) comedy songs was earnest and sweet and his observations on Cluedo and The Ugly Duckling did make me laugh. Verity Babbs performed a fast-paced (slightly hectic) few minutes of absurd and punny sketches, including a fantastic one which involved her holding bagels in front of an audience member's face in the style of an optician.
In the second half, Josh James with his very clever comedy songs went some way towards stealing the whole show. He is obviously a skilled musician and a confident performer, which gave him a springboard of talent from which to be really funny. The lute section of his set also offered an entertaining challenge in trying to work out which hip hop song he had translated into Early Modern English. My favourite was the one originally written by the Slender Shadowed Knight back in 2000.
Last but not least, Kieran Ahern and Tom Dowling (Good Kids) were the final group to take to the stage. They have the assurance and the comic dexterity of an act with experience under their belts - it felt like we were in safe hands, which was the perfect way to end the evening. I particularly liked their when-will-the-tape-measure-fold skit, which captured a game I often played as a child and had forgotten about.
Overall, a great evening of comedy. My main criticism is nicely embodied in the song which I'm just going to leave here. Something to keep working on!