WitTank

This Durham-based sketch group has some of the finest comic talent that anybody can ever see at the fringe. I saw the show in 2008 and I could not stop quoting the incessant moments of hilarity for months. This year the comedy troupe was reduced in size down to four men, but the unique comic atmosphere it lends is still just as incredible. To lend a sense of how impressive their energy and comic skills are I have since met two people in different pubs and out of nowhere WitTank has come up in conversation; a Slovakian saying it was the best comic experience of his life and a young man only who said “they were awesome, manic energy and heroic silliness”. This year's script writing has maintained the genius. From what Admiral Lord Nelson actually requested of Hardy on his deathbed, Bear Grylls’ input as head of the Scouts, and how people cope with not being able to pass each other in the corridor; the show forced belly-laughs from everyone. These are quick witted, genuinely funny people who do not need to rely just on good writing. Their impromptu efforts to make each other corpse onstage proving their abilities at ad-libbing and stand up comedy. Their appearance alone makes you laugh. Poorly shaven with outrageous body language and facial expressions, they embody the funny student. The show does unfortunately have some low points. While the comics have the ability to lay on a barrage of hysterics that threaten to damage the lungs, certain low points in the scripting make it hard for them to do so. One sketch was a deliberately drawn out, a low thrills piece of acting showing the adventure that occurs when you ask for assistance in packing your bag at a supermarket. This did not quite fit into the energetic pacing of the show and if the contrast was intended in order to draw a laugh, its success was limited. These kinds of pot holes were infrequent, but did prevent it from being immaculate. These poorly shaved geniuses are still amongst the kings of sketch comedy at the fringe in my eyes, and it is a show not to be missed. Even if this year is a little shakier than the norm, it is a fantastic comic experience.

Reviews by Theo Barnes

Rain

★★★★★

The Forum

★★★

Fire and the Rose

★★★★

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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Ties done up to 11. Shirts clean and pressed. Trousers, on. Witness the unacceptable mess as WitTank mix razor-sharp sketches with shambolic charm. And they look good. Well, all right. 'Uniquely inventive ... downright funny ... brilliant' - **** (List, 2008).

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