The Oxford Revue is an institution in its own right, and so any year’s Fringe show has rather a lot to live up to. The 2013 edition features a collection of sketches, covering a vast range of topics, including bubble wrap addiction, fire-fighting rangers, and of course, the birds and the bees.
This year, The Oxford Revue show has been named With Bits, a name quite suitable for a show struggling to find an overall consistent structure. Already from the opening sequence, in which the six performers enter the stage dressed as monks, there is a lot going on at the same time. Now, this would have been okay had this randomness appeared to be deliberate, but the audience cannot help but feel that some of the sketches have been thrown together at the last minute, leaving the overall impression upon exiting the venue somewhat weakened.
Despite this, some comedy highlights can be detected. The photo booth sketch and the one about the alpha male in Tesco Express are genuinely funny, as is the sketch featuring a parent-teacher conference. Sadly, these glimpses of comic relief failed to make up for the rest of the show, which for the most part is thin on laughs and lacking in potential.
Essentially, the fault lies with the script. The five performers on stage show talent, and genuinely appear to be making the best of what they have to work with. However, this is hard given the fact that many of the individual sketches are weak and that the show in general lacks consistency and clarity.
The 2013 edition of the Oxford Revue is basically attempting just a bit too much. In trying to provide the audience with so many different bits and pieces, the show loses focus and becomes something resembling a chaotic mess rather than the grand performance we all so desperately hoped it would be.