Comprising of Will Close, Rose Robinson, Paul Aitchison and Megan Smith; Mixed Doubles are a new comedy sketch quartet on a serious mission to entertain.
Comprising of Will Close, Rose Robinson, Paul Aitchison and Megan Smith; Mixed Doubles are a new comedy sketch quartet on a serious mission to entertain. Having just come from a rave run at Henley Fringe, I got to see them in the intimate surrounding of The Etcetera Theatre in Camden, where the informal atmosphere of the pub below pervaded. Armed with a pint and a programme, I had no idea what a treat they had in store for us.
More a bag of treats really. Their style of comedy seemed to be a nostalgic return to the old comedy sketches of Fry and Laurie or Monty Python. Comprising of around 30 devised pieces, there was a definite air of improvisation to the work. The script, when used, was intelligent and witty. Mixed Doubles seem to delight in mocking the subjects of their sketches, often flirting with controversy. But really the main objective of the cast was to have fun. And it couldn’t have been clearer that they were all having a whale of time on stage with plenty of corpsing and fluffed lines. Fortunately the audience were thoroughly won over and every mistake (intentional or not) was greeted with applause and laughter. They are young, fresh from drama school, and ripe to address modern issues while dropping a few cultural references for the facebook generation.
The subjects of the sketches ranged dramatically from each other, each more hilarious and absurd than the one before. We were treated to the ‘Fictional Lion Society’ featuring Narnia’s Aslan, Disney’s Simba and Tony the Tiger meet to chat. Only minutes before a rather dark jab at Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal ‘ Live Strong’. The cast also take it on themselves throughout the night to educate the audience about the difference between the sexes, using the format of TV presenting or a university lecture. with the ladies presenting ‘Football for Girls’ and the guys ‘Girl Talk’ and ‘Girls Making Out’.
A particular favourite was Hogwarts Offsted inspection, leaving you wondering why parents continue to let their children return to a school with such a high death count. Although the absolute highlight of the night for me, had to be the eye watering imitations of Andy Murray. He made three appearances in total, and each one had the audience in stitches. Like most good sketch shows, Mixed Doubles know when they are on to a good thing.
Fingers crossed they’re here to stay!
Reviewed by Krista Lahey-James Saturday 10th November 2012