For my first ever show at the Fringe, I was unsure what to expect, and it probably didn’t help that I didn’t know what “revue” meant. As a revue, the show, which features in total five members of the Society, is split into two halves, with the first half consisting of short solo stand-up sets performed by three members and hosted by a compere, while the second half features a series of short sketches by all five members. This format really allows Comedy Society to highlight each individual performer’s talents and showcase exactly what the Society has to offer. There is no overarching theme bridging the three stand-up sets, but this is not to the detriment of the show, as it instead lends variety to the performance. References to Newcastle are limited so as to cater to the Fringe’s diverse audience, but the particular show I saw had a healthy number of Geordie spectators, meaning the references to Byker were well received. For all but one of the performers, this is their first set at the Fringe, but this is hard to tell because of their confidence – maybe helped by the intimacy of the venue or, in Matt Ratcliffe’s case, by his 60 energy drinks a day. From host David Robinson lamenting his woeful love life, to winner of the Newcastle heat of the Chortle Student Comedy Awards Joey Abels discussing how his mother “doesn’t find humour funny”, the group addresses a variety of topics in witty ways.
The sketch half of the act shows why the group chose to perform together as the Newcastle Revue, with the members really bouncing off each other. While some segments I struggled to understand, others sparked moments of joy, with the group showing the very best of their spoken and physical humour, including the use of a remarkably well-painted cardboard bus which survived the journey to and from Edinburgh surprisingly well. Holly Eysselinck shines with her acting ability, including managing to stay straight-faced despite multiple glasses of water being thrown at her.
In the words of TV’s Tomo Clarkson, Tyne & Tyne Again is “a work of considerable merit”. And it’s bloody well worth a watch.