Elegant Nymphs

Wed 7th – Sat 24th August 2013

reviews

Georgina Wilson

at 08:41 on 12th Aug 2013

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If you’d painted a horizontal line which fluctuated with my appreciation of the series of comedy sketches by “Elegant Nymphs”, you’d have something that could be passed off as a three-year-old’s drawing called ‘Rebellion Against the Ruler”. Although every show has its stronger and weaker spots, this is perhaps never more the case throughout the creative offspring of the Bristol Revunions, in which the tone of humour changes wildly from one minute to the next. “Elegant Nymphs” isn’t honestly something that I enjoyed seeing unreservedly, but given the chortles and chuckles emitting from all around me I was clearly part of a morose minority.

The sketches were short, some literally three lines long, so remembering the order in which they came fast and furious over forty-five minutes was no mean feat for the three-man one-woman cast. Subject matter ranged wide and free: one of my favourite sketches involved a satire on the public displays of affection between sickly, smiling couples, whilst another mocked the ridiculousness of testosterone-pumped male deodorant adverts and so brought the audience together in a unanimous wave of laughs and nods.

Bristol Revunions are clearly an intelligent student group; almost inevitably they dabbled with the controversial and even dipped an experimental toe in the highly offensive. The line between the two is a fine one, but a positive and rowdy audience took in its stride even the more tasteless jokes, mostly revolving around sex and a registered sex offender called Reg. Hmmm. Just occasionally I was shocked and horrified, but overall forgave the troop for their particularly eloquent rhyming beat poem on the subject of rickets: “This weakness in my kneees/isn’t a deficienceee/in Vitamin Deeeee”. (This performed by a sweetly vulnerable Hugh Stanley as a failed love song to the unrelentingly bubbly yet unresponsive Anna Harris.)

Even the oddly misleading name of the show is explained to satisfaction. Its fabrication, it transpires, is triggered by a group of nymphs who take to the Edinburgh Fringe to win fame and glory and enlighten mankind’s understanding of what a “nymph” actually is. (Unlike fairies and hobbits they’re not even mentioned by Tolkein. Subjugation or what?) Apparently we humans think nymphs are all-female, all-dancing, and possessed of the capability to sleep with us without our knowledge. Only two out of the three of those are wrong, by the way. Cue nervous laughter. Though fame and glory may be a little way away at the moment, the enthusiastic acting and healthily-filled seats of this relatively out-of-the-way venue bodes well for this budding company. I might not be back myself, but I’d certainly send comedy-lovers looking for something fresh.

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Helena Blackstone

at 11:02 on 12th Aug 2013

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The ‘Elegant Nymphs’ are fed up. Without any of the special powers or movie deals that all the other mythical creatures get, they have decided to come to the Edinburgh Fringe to make their big debut… with this sketch show. It is energetic and intelligent, tailored to an audience who appreciate humour that is slightly off(beat), or to those who simply delight in the majesty of elegant nymphs. However, be warned: they can and will have sex with you without you knowing.

Highlight sketches include a sinister remake of 'The Shawshank Redemption' and a TV game show to find the world’s most emotionally strong man. Hugh Stanley and Anna Harris create a wordplay extravaganza, composed entirely out of 90's pop culture references for the 90's suckers out there. However, perhaps some of the most amusing bits are when the cast are just hanging out, being their normal nymph selves. In “real” life, Hugh, hoping to seduce Anna with his beat poetry, just cannot contain his creepy side and accidentally ends up stalking her and shrieking in her face that he has a horrible physical deformation.

Ollie Jones-Evans is clearly the star of the show, and entertains us with the gift of his gangliness, which has presumably instructed his particular brand of awkward physical humour. The other performers, Hugh, Anna and Rajiv Karia are also excellent performers, and they complement each other with their great energy, comic timing and general pizazz. The only thing I would say is that perhaps they would do better to stick to their longer scenes, as the weird characters and hilarious scenarios that they create are what I enjoyed most about the show.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and so if you, like me, love nymphs, 'The Mighty Boosh', or laughing, then make sure you pay a visit to the Bristol Revunions! One last piece of advise: I would think about where you decide to sit, because being licked by Anna Harris may be a risk factor (or a pleasure) of sitting in the front row.

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