This year, Comedy Society have risen from the unknown and successfully become one of the most prominent, exciting, and innovative theatre societies at the University. After their Term 1 show Asockalypse Now, in which audience members were awarded one free sock with each ticket, I was intrigued to see their newest sketch-show SpaceBar. From the very beginning, I was not disappointed, as the small cast of five perched (if I can call it that) on their chairs to introduce us to the show’s bizarre alien framework.
With a golden mix of absurdism, metatheatre, and ingenuity, Spacebar was an immensely enjoyable show which had the audience on the edge of their seats the whole time. The unique narrative, alongside the variety of witty sketches, had a comedic appeal for every sense of humour, executed with impeccable comedic timing and expression. Director Ben Pollard, and his assistant director Tom Rolfe, did a fantastic job of appearing to bring the entirety of mankind’s experience and emotions into the M&D room, specifically to mock and ridicule them.
As I’d hate to spoil the surprises of the show, I won’t go into extensive detail about the individual sketches, but there are two that I Have to mention. First: The Miis. As the catchy theme tune played and the cast bopped onstage, all appeared joyful until one character is violently thrown, from the void onto the floor. Underlying this Mii Universe was an existential dread, a fear of the unknown land of deletion, and the entrapment of being brutally abused by your maker. This hilarious humanisation of the Miis left me fearing for my own, neglected Wii children back home, and with every occasional wave and rotating dance, I wept with laughter. I would like to personally thank Comedy Society for bringing this image into my mind, and heart.
Secondly: Matt the Fratt. This sketch was a genius piece of comedic poetry, which combined Dr Zeus with student life. I’m not sure whether it was the impeccable rhyming, the hilarious sex scene, or the mysterious Matt himself (played by Sally Johnson), but the sketch was so impressive, I could see it being aired on television.
The entire cast was phenomenal; Harry Butler proved himself a versatile and naturally hilarious actor, able to grasp the audience’s attention for very, very prolonged periods of time. Jack Birtles was equally entertaining, full of surprises and natural charm, and one of the best self-checkout machines I’ve ever seen. Sally Johnson and Honor Johnston rounded up this incredibly funny team, both giving an energetic and enjoyable performance which never missed a beat. Their accents alone deserve high praise.
Personally, however, I thought the star of this small cast was Dan Allum-Gruselle. With a dead-pan glare that is equally terrifying and hilarious, every movement or sentence left me in creases. With his impeccable comedic timing and naturally witty improvisation, Dan stole the show, and his Where’s Wally sketch proved his talented ability to keep the audience waiting on his every word.
Overall, ‘Spacebar’ was a hilarious success with an incredibly impressive and talented team behind it. I strongly recommend seeing this sketch show on its final night tonight, with a good friend and a cup of cheap wine from the Ram. Come for the aliens, stay for the overly “woke” J.K. Rowling, the county council of Stranglers, and a hypnotic, intergalactic parrot.
– SpaceBar’s last night is on Friday 15th March, 8pm, in M&D. Tickets can be bought here or on the door (Cash only).
– Eleanor-Rose Gordon