Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

Everything That’s Wrong With the Universe is a one-woman sketch show performed by Gemma Arrowsmith. Whilst the writing often fails to take advantage of creative and intelligent setups, Arrowsmith herself is a treat to watch.

I will be on the lookout for Arrowsmith’s name in future as a mark of something worth watching.

Some of the sketches have original and intriguing primers. Some of the commentary could have been fresher: jokes at the expense of homeopathy, alternative medicine, and vapid entertainment magazines are mainstream enough now that they can quickly become repetitive. Arrowsmith is a YouTuber as well as a comedian and actor: reading Internet hate comments, mocking slacktivists, hipsters 'born in the wrong era,' and the misogynist subtext of Twilight will all be already familiar to digital natives, though less tech savvy audience members may find a chuckle or two in it. 'Barbie Surgery' and 'Game Novelisation' make interesting and important points about the expectations placed on women, though the jokes in both could be stronger.

Though it doesn’t feature the strongest sketches at the Fringe, Arrowsmith herself really is so good onstage that she makes the whole show. She is simply a brilliant actor, a cut above all other Fringe sketch comics. She switches from character to character with astonishing speed and versatility, mastering every accent and change in physicality. Her above-average scientific literacy frequently bubbles up: this is a sketch show for the erudite by one of their own. Even with my word limit it is worth stressing again just how great the performing in this show is. I will be on the lookout for Arrowsmith’s name in future as a mark of something worth watching.

The execution may be better than the writing but it is such a treat for a reviewer to watch a professional at work (a veteran acting tutor and graduate of the Guildford School of Drama, no less) that this show merits a recommendation.

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The Blurb

Face it, if this universe were a school project, it would receive a C+ at most. Gemma Arrowsmith presents human folly at its finest in this rogues' gallery of quacks, charlatans and con artists. Sketches and characters exploring such depths as homeopathy, plastic surgery and even shampoo adverts. London is Funny top 20 free shows of the Edinburgh Fringe 2012. 'The greatest female comedy actor of the 21st century says Vic Reeves’ (Vic Reeves). 'An epically geeky journey of parodies and hilarity' **** (ThreeWeeks). 'Exquisitely drawn characters' (Chortle.co.uk).