NEARLY 40 sketches and comedy songs were put together by The Southwick Players for Just For Laughs Again!, at the Barn Theatre last week.
The evening began with a song and dance routine by the 33 cast members – a great way to demonstrate just how many people were involved.
H Reeves, one of the three directors for the show, and Matt Grant then set the ball rolling apace with a brilliant sketch, Welcome to Comedy School.
Matt’s height made him the perfect choice for the part of the comedy school pupil and H, with his gown and pipe, was equally hilarious as the master.
The routine was cleverly interwoven throughout the whole evening, as the pupil was set the task of learning just two jokes but kept muddling up the lines.
There was so much to see and hear during the show, it made for a very long evening, but there was at least something for everyone over the age of 18.
The adult-only ruling was put in place because of the lewd nature of some of the sketches. These were not to my taste but certainly had most of the audience in hysterics.
Providing variety worked well, though, as, for example, the routines I was not so keen on were in fact my partners’ favourites and visa versa.
Top of my list by far was Julian McDowell’s brilliant rendition of Rowan Atkinson’s Father of the Bride speech, which was perfectly paced.
Simon Wilson’s stand-up routine I’m From Wales! also went down well – so well, in fact, that the clapping in the first-half slot at Friday’s performance drowned out his attempts to tell his last joke, so he saved it for his return in the second half.
My partner enjoyed the parody of My Favourite Things, performed by Jean Clark, in which the affects of ageing were highlighted, and the Police Interview, featuring Mark Best and Tom McDonald, where a middle-aged man trying to join the police force is asked questions about the pop group The Police instead.
Mastermind, with Ian Churchill and Matt Grant, also went down well, recreating one of The Two Ronnies’ best routines, a classic sketch in which the contestant specialises in answering the question before last.
I enjoyed Old Spice, in which Annabelle Heath, Nina Yeo, Jean Clark, Anita Shipton and Sue Gullen recreated a short dance dedicated to the Spice Girls but grown older.
Ron Common was also in fine form, featuring in several routines.
His Dicken’s Cider sketch went down particularly well, although it possibly went on a little too long. He had arranged for several of the audience to go up on stage to help, which was a nice touch.
All in all it was a great return for the comedy show, first seen in 2011.