The Oxford Revue has been bringing sketch comedy to the fringe for decades, and has a history of successful alumni, which is a mixed blessing: sure, it gets bums on seats, but it also opens up a show for arguably unnecessary or unhelpful comparison. But maybe it would be best if I don’t mention Rowan Atkinson – these boys can and should stand on their own two feet. This sketch show is a solid hour of daftness and experimental comedy, covering some dark themes but not taking itself too seriously.
Triptych presented a selection box of comedy: we got one-liners and longer sketches, audio sketches and filler gags. And the three comedians were no less heterogeneous than their set. Individually, they are all funny and clearly have had good ideas; it is obvious they all have very different comfort zones but this makes the show refreshingly varied in its content.
Edmond Garnett was at his most successful in the classic sketch roles – his characters are presented with confidence and a clear understanding of his audience and jokes. George Mcgoldrick stood out with his deadpan one-liners and contributions to group sketches. Will Rees was, by contrast, great in the more absurd or surreal sketches, which he sustained with an assured presence.
The show was littered with golden sketch ideas, and we were presented with great characters: from the wannabe actor who can only speak in advert voice to the pregnant woman in hospital (as played by Mcgoldrick in a turn reminiscient of those boys who accidentally ended up in GCSE drama but whose vocal tone had the melody of a foghorn). Sometimes the end joke could have done with a bit more commitment/development and the funnier bits actually came before, but equally there were lots where the punchline was laugh-out-loud funny.
While there is some room for improvement, the potential of these three comedians is obvious (I bet Rowan Atkinson’s Revue sketches were a mixed bag too).