Who knew that a park bench could be the site of comedy? Sketch group Jam Sponge Comedy are determined to show us just how funny a park bench can be. This 6 person sketch show, where a rotation of characters interact on or near a park bench, can be a really good laugh. Silly, fun and energetic, this show was certainly engaging from beginning to end. Characters ranged from a hilariously bemused couple of OAP’s, to pretentious students practising their yoga, to meticulous park inspectors, to a particularly cheeky homeless gentleman.
This group took a while to break in the audience and their sketches didn’t really pack much punch until around the 10-minute mark. Their delivery was absolutely their best feature, using funny voices and perfect comic timing to get us all giggling. Between the performers though, there were some inconsistencies. Some brought more to the table than others and deserved more stage time. Other than a few moments revealing this disparity, they acted well as an ensemble, working off each other to get the laughs in. Each sketch ran into the next with ease; their transitions were smooth and painless, and the cast switched between their many characters comfortably.
They worked in some pretty crude material with clever planning, building up to the dirty stuff, which was just the right amount of nasty to get the audience cracking up without causing offence. Unfortunately though, the piece as a whole lacked structure. The park bench motif was an intelligent way to bring the sketches together, but they relied on that idea too heavily without enough consideration to the cohesiveness of the sketches themselves. Their recurring characters worked really well, but they didn’t have the confidence to rely on them alone, adding in extras here and there which resulted in a sense of disjointedness; instead, the company could have injected a bit more creativity and innovation into the dialogue itself. Overall though, this was an enjoyable hour spent watching some really very funny sketches that were perfectly directed at a young, student audience.