A Hard Day’s Month – 2 stars

In a month in which the news was filled with, amongst many other things, ominous volcanic ash clouds and stranded flights, the US and Russia signing a nuclear arms pact, not to mention our very own general election campaign, a topical news comedy show should, you would think, have rich pickings with which to entertain an audience.

Sadly, there was very little entertainment here, and the blame for this lies fairly and squarely with the writers. We were subjected to such skits as a pointless scene involving St George having a drink at a bar, a sketch in which a group of people stoned and snorting cocaine turn out to be – wait for it – a government advisory committee on drugs, and a scene consisting of nothing more than a series of puns on chocolate bars that wouldn’t have made it into a second rate end-of-the-pier pantomime. This was lazy, uninspired writing which offered very little in the way of wit, satire, or humour.

There seemed to be no effort made either to make this look or feel anything like a show. Most of the songs were sung unaccompanied – despite there being a guitar and guitarist on stage. Costumes, such as they were, looked like they had been picked at random from a bin liner left outside a charity shop. And the absence of any kind of lighting changes or music effects between sketches meant that they just came to an abrupt (or sometimes embarrassed) end, often lacking any big joke or punchline, prompting confused smatterings of applause that made Tony Blair’s slow hand clap from The WI sound like a rapturous standing ovation.

A valiant attempt was made by the performers to try and make something of the material. They attacked everything with gusto, and there was the odd decent impression of Anne Robinson, Gordon Brown, and various British Yoofs. But their talents deserved much better than the stuff they had to work with here.

(originally posted 6 May 2010)

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