COMEDY REVIEW: Beyond The Ridiculous ★★★

Beyond The Ridiculous
The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol
Sunday 6th November 2016

It's my first time at The Wardrobe Theatre and Beyond The Ridiculous, a comedy show showcasing fooling, a technique which involves one performer taking to the stage and creating a performance through the sights and sounds around them at the time. This production happens on the first Sunday of every month, which currently has booking until June 2017 and is facilitated by Holly Stoppit.

This comedy evening was very relevant and relatable to me personally having just completed a module at university which surrounded clowning, so I found that I recognised many techniques that I was taught through the five performers who performed in this particular show.

What I found fascinating was the entrance of the performer, because when they came on stage and stood in front of us, I was thoroughly intrigued of how they would make a performance from the silence of the audience. It made me think back to a rule I was taught that you should never push out an idea that you think will get you laughs because you may find this won't work, so you should look around you and check out the opportunities that you have surrounding you, to which in this performance became very useful, from a bench that was against the back wall being used as one performer crawled underneath it, and another when one female performer asked for an audience member's glasses and took some clipboards from the table. With these techniques it really can help you when creating a character or start a situation that you can then develop.

I really loved how heightened the performers got when their performances were getting praise from the audience through laughter and clapping, and seeing how far they could be pushed. A particular favourite moment was when the whole space turned randomly into a rave scene as we did an impromptu fire dance to ward off the impending doom that was to arrive, or when we had to put on imaginary shows and pretend to fly. It was in these two moments in the first act where I realised I was too sober to be watching this performance, so trust me when I say I went straight to the bar as the interval came along.

The performances aren't done through silence though, as the other performers on the night can help out the individual using recorded or live music, but can also run on stage when advised by the performer to be an ensemble, and this particular worked well when the last female performer of the evening, Stephanie Kempson, used the scenario of a disco to have the other performers on stage having a dance whilst she told the story of being a superhero.

Overall, Beyond The Ridiculous was a hilarious evening filled with material that was unique, really showcasing comedy and theatre to their highest form, and is defiantly a production I will go to see again over the upcoming months!


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