Midsomer Mergers was many things—tight, energetic, big. Funny was not one of those things.
It was as though they made sure everything else was perfect, and then at the last minute someone piped up with “hey so…we um, we have written sketches…right?”
Most skits were lazy, half-baked ideas that should never have made it out of the pitching stage. They more or less all fell into four categories:
- Literal interpretations of things: A touch football sketch where someone ‘touches’ a football.
- Mentioning things students are familiar with: A ‘Take Me To Brunch’ parody which was an exercise in rhyming various breakfast foods.
- Things-that-might-but-probably-still-wouldn’t-have-been-funny-three-years-ago: An opening number about worrying when no one likes your Facebook photo and a parody of those Jeep ads that aren’t on anymore.
- Genuinely excellent puns: “It’s not you…it’s a me – Mario”. YES!
But no matter the sketch they were all, without fail, just a bunch of people standing in a line having a conversation – with the lights coming down before anything funny had really happened. The lights fading to black instead of snapping left the baffled audience too much time to realize that the set-up wasn’t a setup after all, it was the joke. Too many scripts simply didn’t have punch-lines or an ending—they weren’t in bad taste, they were just bad.
Only when the band mercifully intervened did the show come back to life. And holy shit, the band was unbelievable—their Sandstorm and Super Smash Bros covers were among some of the best revue band moments in recent memory.
The frustrating thing about this show is that they clearly had more than enough talent for it to be very good—the full-cast choreography was dazzling, the political satire in the AVs was really solid, and the a cappella songs, though lyrically weak, were exquisitely arranged. Hayden Tonazzi was irrepressible and put in one of the standout performances of the revue season, while Brendon Francis’ pitch-perfect character work lifted the entire room when he was on stage.
But over the two-hour show, these moments were the exceptions and not the rule. Midsomer Mergers spluttered and stuttered and never really got off the ground. The cast was committed, energetic and by no means was it a flop, but it was, unfortunately, largely forgettable.