Cambridge University troupe The Foxymorons promise their sketch show Up the Auntie will be a “ludicrous abandon” of “porn, politics, pheasants and porn”, but their failure to deliver on two of these (porn makes an appearance) is unfortunately not the only thing lacking nor their self-description the only thing needlessly padded.
While sketch shows certainly don't need to have returning characters to be successfully funny, perhaps the absence here belies a lack of trust in the mileage of the rest of their repertoire.
The two male performers show promise, with lots of energy, some skilled impersonations and a good connection between them. They commit to each role with enthusiasm and precision, which is particularly impressive when the two of them play a variety of roles in one fast-paced sketch. They never break character by laughing at themselves, but this is not a surprise, as their material isn't very funny. While some of the set-ups are imaginative, they follow like a tedious argument, dragging along without paying off. With an already meagre running time of just 40 minutes – hardly the “hour of comedy fun” promised – some filler may be a strategic necessity, but it simply creates the feeling that the script for Up the Auntie is an early, unfinished draft rushed out to meet a deadline.
There's a lack of thematic coherence or unifying thread to tie the sketches together and several lack the laughs needed to stand on their own. Only once do characters from one sketch reappear in another and both of these sketches work well: short, with a simple set-up and a slick punchline. While sketch shows certainly don't need to have returning characters to be successfully funny, perhaps the absence here belies a lack of trust in the mileage of the rest of their repertoire. There are some snort-worthy moments: one sketch has some pleasing rapid punning and the visual humour based on a French textbook is impressive. A word association game, ostensibly played to cover up a gap in-between sketches, adds a layer of winking fourth-wall breaking which is welcome, although sadly short-lived. With better, tighter writing, more original content and thorough editing, The Foxymorons might follow through on more of their promises next time.