Over the past few years, the St Andrews Revue has become a highlight of On The Rocks, and this year will be no exception. With an ever-changing line- up of gag-merchants, the Revue has managed to establish itself as one of the leading student comedy troupes in St Andrews, as well as further afield with a run of sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Ahead of this year’s On The Rocks show, ‘Minstrel Cramps’, we spoke to Revue veteran Joe Fleming to find out what we can expect from tonight’s show and the future.
The Saint : How long have you been involved with the Revue?
Joe Fleming: We started writing the We started writing the first Revue show, ‘Jestation Period’, at the start of my second year, in October 2010. It was performed on the Byre theatre’s main stage in April 2011, to a full-capacity audience. Since then, we’ve done two more sell-out shows at the Byre, received four-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, supported WitTank in Venue 1, and made a thousand a cappella fans chuckle as hosts of the Voice Festival competition.
TS: What do you enjoy most about working with the Revue?
JF: I get the opportunity to be very silly with eight of my best friends a few times a week. I spend countless hours reading awfully tedious books for my Modern History degree, so it’s lovely to have a creative outlet that takes my mind off dry academia.
TS: Do you enjoy being part of the OTR Festival? How important do you think OTR is for the Revue?
JF: Absolutely. This is the Revue’s third year performing at the Festival. Aside from the Edinburgh Fringe in August, it’s the highlight of the group’s calendar. I’m really looking forward to seeing Blind Mirth’s sketch show two days before ours. We have a gentle rivalry, which motivates us to put on the funniest show possible. We also happen to share a member, the unrelentingly charming Ed Fry.
TS: You’ve had great reviews for student and Fringe press, so we know you’re good – but what is special about this show? What can we expect?
JF: The beauty of quick-fire sketch comedy is that audiences never know what’s coming next. For instance, in the space of just a few minutes during ‘The Crass Menagerie’, last year’s On The Rocks show, I went from playing a stuffily formal adjudicator to staggering onstage in high heels, fishnet tights and a skimpy dress. Therefore, I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises. Just wait and see. (Fortunately, I won’t be appearing in drag this time.) Two of the original members of the Revue, Amanda Litherland and I, will be leaving university in June. This is our last sketch show in St Andrews, so we’re determined to end on a high. There are also four brand new faces in the group – Ed Fry, Ollie Carr, Mark Jones and Olly Lennard joined the Revue last semester after triumphing over forty other auditionees. The Revue will definitely be in capable hands once Amanda and I have gone.
TS: Have there been any difficult moments in preparation for this show?
JF: Choosing sketches for the show is always difficult. The nine of us wrote about 40 sketches this year, which had to be whittled down to 20. We all have very different senses of humour, which makes the decision-making process tricky and compromise inevitable. One person’s meat is another person’s poison. I love self-deprecating wordplay, whereas other members of the Revue would hate an hour-long barrage of deadpan puns. The diverse tastes of the group should mean that there’s at least one thing in the show that every audience member will really enjoy.
TS: Is this show a precursor for a potential Fringe run? I know you were incredibly successful with critical acclaim last year.
JF: We haven’t received Fringe funding from Mermaids this year, which is frustrating and perplexing considering our successful debut. Despite this major setback, we’ve decided to cover the costs ourselves. We’re hoping to become a Fringe institution, like the Cambridge Footlights and Oxford Revue, and missing a year would bring us almost back to square one. I expect that we’ll have a bucket at the back of Venue 1 to collect any loose change audience members may have at the end of our On The Rocks show. Any donations to our kitty would be hugely appreciated.
TS: Give me a final three words to convince our readers to come to the Revue tonight.
JF: We’re funny, honestly.