The Leeds Tealights bring joy and mirth to the Fringe this year in A Very Special Birthday Party. The troupe hopes to rekindle a man’s enjoyment of his birthday through the medium of sketch comedy with the aid of the ghosts of birthdays past, present and future.
Not one hackneyed joke in sight
The show follows the classic comedy revue format: a series of sketches with varying lengths and cast, each followed by a blackout and music as the next scene gets set up. The concept that ties it all together is the motivation to brighten the spirits of a begrudged member of the cast on his birthday, which makes for a neat, fun and snappy introduction to the show. The Christmas Carol undertones are also a clever addition, allowing for further structuring and plot points.
The troupe have a clear camaraderie which is lovely to watch, and each cast member brings their own unique flavour to the show, be it with deadpan or more heightened performance styles. In the individual sketches themselves, this can occasionally cause some discord in the tone, which would be simple to amend by a director and would add the polish of a unified energy. Nonetheless, both the writing and the execution demonstrate brilliantly off-the-wall concepts and terrific comic timing. There is not one hackneyed joke in sight, which is a highly impressive feat in a sketch comedy show, and their ability to smoothly break the fourth wall allows for the audience to feel all the more familiar with the cast.
The Tealights’ absurd sketches and unexpected choices are rip-roaringly funny. Some of the Tealight’s most successful sketches are a result of their character work which elevates the writing further to elicit even bigger laughs. With a final edit, A Very Special Birthday Party has the potential to produce comedy gold.