Laughter Track

Mon 19th November 2012

reviews

Josephine Mitchell

at 01:48 on 20th Nov 2012

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The Laughter Track with The Awkward Silence is a rather intriguing title for a comedy evening. Luckily, the melting pot of comedy morsels that comprises this eccentric evening thoroughly earns the enigmatic moniker. To make things clear, The Laughter Track is the monthly comedy event boasting an eclectic mix of sketch comedy and stand-up that takes place monthly at the Port Mahon. The Awkward Silence are the quirky couple that host the event, boasting the comedic talents of Ralph Jones and Vyvyan Almond.

The Laughter Track is designed to showcase a variety of contemporary comedy from around Oxford, with different guests starring each month. The Awkward Silence remain the common factor and balance introducing new acts with acting out their own small comic sketches in between each comedian. If the aim of a sketch is to get a room of slightly tipsy people laughing uproariously, Almond and Jones can achieve this in less than three minutes. Their comedic snap-shots were placed in the most unlikely of situations, from The Wind in the Willows, to the home of a young Bob Dylan, but all were concise and brilliantly simple. Later in the evening, The Oxford Revue popped in to offer their contribution, performing with a similar polish and crisp execution that demonstrated a thorough understanding of the potential of the sketch format. It was succinct and hilarious.

If the evening did contain moments of uneasy silence, it was not as a result of these two excellent comedy troops. If anything their comedic professionalism emphasised the comparative inexperience of the two opening stand-up comics, Matt Hobs and Jack Barry. Neither of whom looked like they wanted to be on stage, and both of whom fell into the oh-so-tempting trap of trying to amuse the audience by acknowledging the complete absence of laughter. It didn’t work. In the second half, things picked up as we were treated to the cuttingly comic observations of stand-up Paul Fung. Fung, a Laughter Track veteran, gave an assured performance, in particular, his painfully accurate account of hearing “agonizingly hipster” students enjoying the South Parks firework show “ironically”.

It is clear that the event varies monthly as different guests are invited to perform, and the combinations of styles and approaches were very different. The good news is that The Awkward Silence injects a deranged energy into every transition, holding the entire squirming mass together admirably.

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