Itch: A Scratch Event

Itch is a collection of some new work, mainly comedy pieces with a little theatre in the mix, some performers off script and others showing off a snippet of their latest invention. Unfortunately showing off is not the right phrase - letting down seems somewhat more appropriate. The performance consisted of five excerpts of material, none of which fully impressed, resulting in one underwhelmed family walking out mid show.

The idea is a good one, as the audience feels they are getting a sneak peek at a collection of works before they go public, but within the comedy pieces the laughs were lacking and in the theatrical pieces so was the concentration as a number of audience members were close to falling asleep.

The first sketch consisted of a couple where the man was desperate for his wife’s love and affection, something she was unwilling to give. This had potential, but was something we had all seen before. There were some knowing nods and chuckles from the audience but that was the extent of it. Both actors were on script so the piece was obviously very much in the development stages and the actor’s delivery was not to be criticised - it is the writing that needs that little unique twist.

Another piece, in my eyes the best, was of an elderly man ordering a Thai takeaway, constantly checking the variations in price as he goes from special rice, to boiled and finally settling on uncooked rice delivered in the delivery guy’s hands. This character was fully rounded and well portrayed, a welcome end to the very hit and miss performance.

The other sketches were rather nondescript and although the event was casual and laid back some performers seemed as though they did not want to be there, forgetting many people had paid money to see them perform. I lost count of the amount of times I looked at my watch during the show and was somewhat relieved when it finally came to an end. This show doesn’t seem to have much future promise, but maybe one of them will come back to surprise or rather haunt me another day.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Festival comedians perform their latest batch of brand new scripts - rehearsed and unrehearsed. Funny, moving... and sometimes entirely unpredictable! Itch performers include Hattie Hayridge, Fred Macaulay, Jo Caulfield, Jack Whitehall, Phil Nichol and Clovis van Darkhelm.

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