Bristol Revunions is one of a fairly large number of student sketch groups to be found at the Fringe, many of whom offer quality to rival the big names and famous groups. Their show this year, Cream, opens with an overlay of strobe lighting on blackout and pumping music. The five guys who make up this Bristol Revunions, appear lit intermittently by the strobe as they dance about before us. It's a showbizzy, fun and funky intro that sets the piece up with energy.
There doesn't appear to be a particular theme. Many of the sketches are based on recognisable scenes from TV, film and real life history - but from a different perspective and/or with a twist. We meet the 'Captain' of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, characters from the Godfather, the Sunday Brunch TV team, and Lee Harvey Oswald as he accidentally (according to the version presented here) shoots John F Kennedy. I like the ideas and there are the beginnings of what could be some very clever gags, but for me, there was something lacking in both the way these concepts were formed in the script and in the way they were performed.
Each scene flows seamlessly into the next with well-timed blackouts and music for scene changes. The troupe are confident, with mixed levels of comic acting; each of them have very watchable moments, and there are nice contrasts between their styles and personas. In places though they needed greater work on enunciation and projection, and one of the actors in particular was too quiet, and several would benefit from crisper diction.
However, what this show really lacked, in my opinion, were jokes that worked. There was an element of surrealism, which in itself can be very funny - but here it was too subtle to provide the humour in itself, and the overriding effect was somewhat dull and forgettable.
With a packed house for what was their final night, Bristol Revunions certainly did achieve some laughs from much of the audience, but it was all quite subdued. There's ample potential in this group – but they need some new writing and perhaps a different take on direction, bringing together the individual performances more effectively.