What is Sketch Comedy you may ask? Well, according to those great folks in Wikipedia, A sketch comedy comprises a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called “sketches”, commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as radio and television. So now you know. Alternatively, if you want to really find out what sketch comedy is, you should check out Dude Looks Like a Lady as I did at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden.
Anyway, I turned up at the theatre, not really sure what to expect, so my evening started with me trying to analyse the set as I took my seat. Since this consisted of four white stools and a washing basket with some bras hanging out, I didn’t really get that far. As the lights went down and the haunting melody of Aerosmith’s song of the same name blared out the dudes/ladies – Jessica Ashworth, Leanne Davis, Juliet Catton and Amanda Stauffer – took to the stage in housecoats and hairnets and started their final preparations for the show. Once ready, the housecoats were tossed in the washing basket, revealing their individual combination of a black and white outfit. They then grabbed the audience by the proverbial short and curlies and led them on an hour long comedy trip that will never be forgotten – rather like that song!
Along the way, we encountered slightly hard of hearing police officers, the world’s fastest romance – when I also learned that bridesmaids dresses come in packs of two – a lesson in how to describe a movie to your friends, how to get out of the most awkward situations – during which I apparently changed my name to Cliff – the ultimate ‘selfie date’ and so much more. We also met a hopeless romantic who lived their life as if it was a movie and two ‘blokes’ down the pub with some very interesting ideas on what a lady likes to hear.
Our four ‘dudes’ under Director Henrietta Ashworth kept the action moving fast – with some great music during scene changes – using minimal props and costumes (and on occasion audience members) to create each sketch. Some sketches were very simple yet effective, whilst others took an idea and, thanks to some clever use of ‘reductio ad absurdum’, took that to a new and often surreal level of humour that kept the audience laughing and clapping through to the end of what turned out to be a pretty impressive night of highly enjoyable comedy.
Review by Terry Eastham
The DUDES are five award-winning comic women of equal gumption if not stature. They comprise Jessica Ashworth, Leanne Davis, Juliet Catton, Amanda Stauffer and Rebecca Baron. This show was directed by Henrietta Ashworth.