The typical Science Revue is what I imagine people mean by camp: along the lines of big, flashy, fun, and maybe slightly kitschy. Science Revue 2022: A B sCience is no different. Directors Skye McLeod and Harry Charlesworth have put out a high-quality show jam-packed with the oddball humour, gargantuan all-cast numbers, and ever-present dick jokes that audiences should expect from SciRev. In fact, it may be a little too jam-packed — if there’s one main criticism I’d make of A B sCience, it’s that it’s too long. This is a common ailment for SciRev, and one that’s understandable coming from a show full to the brim with talent to show off. Nonetheless, some quality sketches didn’t get the reception that they deserved from a tired-out audience, and the energy and pacing could’ve been improved with a more thorough trimming of the fat.
Regardless, SciRev is still a show well worth seeing. All performers turned in quality performances, showing serious comedic chops. At times, the sheer size of the York Theatre made it difficult to create a stage presence to match, but when sketches’ energy did meet the moment, they positively crackled. In a show full of laughs, there were still some definite standouts in the acting sketches: Georgie Harley McDonald was hilarious as a horse girl befriending a cassowary (a startlingly convincing Brandon De Moraes) in ‘Monster Horse Girl’. Karuna Skipper and Calum Boland played off each other wonderfully in ‘Something or Something Else’ as Steven and Vladimir, a vampire and a victim, with Estella Kennedy as the game show contestant forced to guess which is which. ‘Writer’s Block’ was an impressively staged personal favourite, showing the writing process of a soap opera with an absolutely nonsensical number of twists. The AV sketches, steered by Assistant Directors Ro Roberts and James Wily, were also of a consistently high quality — my favourite being ‘All the Way Around,’ the trailer for an imaginary Netflix documentary about a playground hero.
One of the main appeals of SciRev is the diverse array of talent on display, with singing and dancing troupes adding vibrancy and spectacle to the show. This year was no different: both troupes brought some hilarious sketches as well as their creative talents. The dancing troupe’s ‘Ibillet’ was not only a pitch-perfect display of physical comedy, but also a genuinely quite beautiful piece of dance, showing the longing and tension between an ibis and a pack of chips. The show’s dancers, led by C Ber, also held together the choreography of the show, helping the massive cast seem light on its feet during all-cast numbers. The singing troupe, capably directed by Lily Tindale and Joseph Knox, brought some of the funniest sketches, including a paean to the beauty of bra storage, a cautionary tale on the importance of PPE, and — my favourite — a sex-positive ‘Carol of the Balls’. All of the musical sketches were delivered with panache, with the band and singers working in harmony. Minor AV issues meant that at times singers were inaudible, even with microphones, and there were a few moments of unpleasant feedback, but these were easy to forgive when the quality was otherwise so high.
Speaking of musical sketches — the band. What else is there to say? The live band has consistently been one of SciRev’s best features and this ensemble, directed by Andrei Agnew and Jean Luc Barbara, was as good as any. As well as bringing laughs with some quality sketches (‘Audience Plant’ was my favourite) they set the tone for the whole show’s energy, fluidly moving from sketch to sketch and providing the foundation for the show’s excellent musical sketches.
SciRev 2022 was a long show, and had its weak points. Its strong points, however, were funny, joyous, energetic, and — most importantly — far outnumbered the weak ones, leaving A B sCience a show more than worth attending.