This show is described as an ‘unrehearsed show-and-tell’ from ‘the best comedians from across the globe’. I, along with many of the other audience members, had imagined this to mean an alternative tour of the museum, given by known comedians who have no idea what they’re talking about, but are all the funnier for it. I was wrong. Instead it was powerpoint presentation given by the host, Laura Lexx, and three not-so-well-known comedians who I am not going to name in this review in the vague hope that their comedy sets are better than their improv. I should say that the guests change every night, so it’s going to be a hit and miss performance. Are you feeling lucky?
I suggest you take advantage of the National Museum of Scotland during the daytime, go see some interesting exhibits for free.
The set up is that the guest comedians are pretending to be renowned professors, and they have to talk about the objects that crop up on the slideshow, despite having never seen them before, as if they are specialists on them. I studied ancient history at university. This is important as it means that I can say with some authority that this performance was, at times, duller than the hour-long morning lecture I sat through on Roman roads, while hanging.
Laura Lexx was a likable host, and by far the most capable comedian of the night. Unfortunately she had a habit of trying to push her guests too far, perhaps naive to their lacking wits, or too unfamiliar with their comedy. As host she was in charge of describing the ‘guest speakers’ as they came to the stage. So she had control over their characters’ backgrounds. At times this worked well, but at points the show suffered for it.
Having the second comedian come on with a Russian accent was a mistake, he couldn’t do accents. She tried to make up for it by suggesting that the speaker had a habit of changing accent every time he presented a different object to a crowd. This led to the comedian attempting, in turn, Jamaican, Brummie, South African, and Irish accents. All of which were uncomfortable to witness. The worst part was watching Lexx realise what she’d prompted and vainly attempt to steer the conversation to safer ground. For some unknown reason, despite it being just an accent change, the comedian changed his entire backstory based on accent, which was at odds with the point of the show.
The first ‘guest speaker’ decided they were very nervous, which was annoying. And that they had committed some terrible faux pas which got them kicked out of their university, this was contrived and dull. Her scatalogical humour was childish and unfunny.
Accents aside, the second guest was not a natural improviser. At one point he determined that the outfit he was showing belonged to a Leprechaun. And that this Leprechaun was called Lepre. Lepre Chaun? I mean. Wow. The Leprechaun’s wife is Jennifer, and he has two sons, one called Michael and the other Pepper. Pepper Chaun. As in Peppercorn, geddit? Only this name, the only vaguely funny one, was suggested by an audience member, who was clearly sick of suffering through the comedian’s stage death. At this point, rather than acknowledge the heckler’s wit, the comedian made a grave misjudgement by bringing him to the stage in a weird attempt to best him. It didn’t work. Wisely, Lexx finished up this segment pretty sharpish after that.
The third guest was boring and seemed to clash with Lexx throughout his performance, it was an awkward watch.
The most interesting parts of the show were when Lexx read out the actual facts about the pieces that appeared in the slideshow. Rather than paying £10 for this performance then, I suggest you take advantage of the National Museum of Scotland during the daytime, go see some interesting exhibits for free.