The Hilary Revue
Burton Taylor Studio
Hahahahahahaha. I wish that could be my review. This is funny. Go. Perhaps you need a little more information before spending your fiver. Fine. For those of you for whom this opening line (or sheer emphasis by repetition: hahahahahahaha) isn’t illuminating enough, here goes. With Family Values, the Oxford Revue has produced an hour of independent comic sketches, ostensibly unrelated but, as becomes clear, linked by more than just their genius of comedy.
Not all of the sketches are as urgently, painfully funny as the best three or four, but the variety of kinds of humour means everyone will love something. The sketches are seamless. Every punchline is spot-on: perfectly timed, perfectly delivered, perfectly, brilliantly, hilariously, hilarious. The five members of the cast—Kieran Ahern, Barney Fishwick, Phoebe Hames, Will Hislop, David Meredith—are all amazing. My particular favourite was Will Hislop but only just, and I can only choose because he delivered my favourite line.
The guy next to me was extolling the virtues of David Meredith as we walked out and repeating a certain phrase, which was still funny even trekking down the BT stairs. So yes, delivery and timing: perfect. Cast: perfect. Even a strange moment of surely unintentional name confusion: somehow still perfect. Audience response?
We were packed into the BT studio, loudly cheering and most of the time verging on helpless with laughter. There are jokes about politics, sex, the news, equality; there are moments satirising slapstick, ridiculing references to real-world events and the absurder aspects of UK culture (even Ant and Dec make an appearance), and a journey to the centre of the world itself. This last was almost inconceivably funny: I had a coughing fit trying to keep from laughing too loudly to hear the lines. This cast is funnier than an opportune cure for fourth week Hilary blues. This show is better than a way to while away a February evening. Family Values is more than funny; it is genuinely a joy to see such excellent actors.
What more is there to tell you? This lot are going to be big names. Actually, it’s not their (hopefully very successful) futures that should be persuading you. It’s that your stomach will still be hurting from laughing the morning after the show. So I don’t know what more I can tell you. Emphasis by repetition: hahahahahahaha. Go, go, go.
PHOTO/ George Mather