Fresh from their West End debut, UCLU's premier sketch troupe Gower Line have downsized a little. From the home of all of London's darlings to the 'characterful' walls of Citrus nightclub, they've brought along their finest sketches and brightest formal wear to help fight off the doom and gloom of an Edinburgh summer. We're taught how to cope in awkward social situations, fight zombies and survive a nuclear apocalypse all in the space of an hour. A well balanced selection of sketches, both old and new, meant that each cast member proved themselves on stage and the sketches themselves were well thought through and just on the right side of ridiculous.
These are timeless sketches which steer clear of the Newsrevue-style shows that fill the Fringe guide every year
Unfortunately, though, sometimes a good gag is not enough. If we can't hear what the performer is saying, or understand the subtle wordplay through a faux-American accent, the joke falls flat and a little bit of energy drains away each time. The Gower Line’s writing is good; their sketches are clever; their acting great, but their delivery is a little wanting. Elsewhere, a couple of sketches keep reeling on past their punchline, which leaves us feeling a little less comfortable than before.
With a more forgiving and less inhibited crowd, however, the Gower Line should and will find their audience bawling. The troupe play with real-life situations with great imagination, and their callback sketches are a particular treat for any recent graduates who happen to be in attendance. But this is a University sketch troupe not entirely obsessed with University life: though a few cliched traits come through, their material is widely accessible, so you don't need to be fresh out of a lecture hall to share in the joke. These are timeless sketches which steer clear of the Newsrevue-style shows that fill the Fringe guide every year. Refreshingly silly and very clever, the Gower Linehave brought us a very enjoyable hour of comedy, albeit in need of a little polishing.