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Arts Revue: On the eighth day, God created the Arts Revue (and flightless birds) (Sean O’Grady)

Sean O’Grady saw the face of God, at the York Theatre

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Directors Cihan Saral and Jack Gow set about “creating a show free of some of the more formulaic approaches to Revues”. as the show commences with God’s (Jack Gow) nasal twang reciting a slightly altered version of the Christian Creation myth, the audience wonders what the creators of On the Eighth Day, God Created the Arts Revue (and flightless birds) have in store for them.

From the outset it is clear that long favoured revue tropes have given way for a set of characters that are often dark and always awkward. If you had not ventured out for a night of black comedy and elongated silences, then you might have been disappointed.

The opening half of the show struggles to build momentum. The ‘Man with the Second Longest Fingernails in the World’ is hilarious as Sam Brewer tries to make breakfast, and Jack Ballhausen is excellent as a singing Hannibal Lecter. However long transitions between scenes, and a couple of overlong sketches, leave the performance feeling occasionally laboured.

The sketches following the interval are in possession of renewed energy and excellent comic timing. The ‘Spanish Scene’ which features Pan from Pan’s Labyrinth as part of a Mariachi Band is an audience favourite. So too is an infantile Bond Villain astride a tricycle who leaves the audience in stitches as she repeatedly circles the stage on her trike. The silence is punctuated only by the squeaking of her bike and the gales of laughter coming from the audience.

Whilst the show had its flaws, if you came to Arts Revue wanting an absurd, awkward and at times alienating series of sketches, you were not disappointed. The massive York Theatre was, more often than not, filled by the sound of a laughing and cheering audience.

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