The 2015 Law Revue, Midsomer Mergers, was frustrating, and I left, exhausted, after a long drag of a show. From the word go, it was very apparent that this cast was talented. There is no denying that. The vocal strength of the singers was present in every note sung, dance numbers were well oiled machines of movement and, in sketches, you could not refute that every person sold the shit out of their characters. There were no stand-out performers because the cast as a whole was itself a stand-out.
It’s a shame that such a strong cast was not given equally strong elements to perform, with the sketches being witty but drawn out. I went in prepared for a political show, and boy I’m glad I was. Political sketches were packed in like Anti-Liberal sardines, but there was just no variety in thought. Each piece went down the very easy and regular route of demeaning Tony and his goons, and for the umpteenth time I was informed ‘Gee, the Liberals sure are stupid, huh.’ For a show known for politics, I was expecting a more complex array of sketches that covered more than just one well-examined facet of our government.
Matched to the political sketches were groan-worthy word wit pieces. The second half was almost nothing but. I will freely admit that the two biggest laughs I gave were to a Hannibal Lectern pun piece and a short and sweet Subtraction joke (the latter aided by the brilliant delivery of the punch by the actor himself). I just wished for more variety from the writers of this show, and an awareness of where the best jokes lay. I laughed hard at jokes but then had to endure several more minutes of post-joke drag.
Throughout the show I checked my watch, especially in the video sketches. Boy oh boy they were long, the best being (you guessed it) a political piece about anti-women Liberals that went on for yonks after the best jokes had passed.
The directors used the space well, setting up suites of sketches on stage in the dark and moving swiftly through them, though they occasionally gave away sight gags—an existential Where’s Wally monologue had a weak reveal because I had seen the familiar red and white stripes from the lighting of another piece.
The highlight of this show, and perhaps the highlight of my revue experience this year, was the band. That band. I could not have found a tighter brass section. It was just beautiful. I would have happily spent the whole time listening to them, literally 7:30pm to 6 in the morning I could have listened to them. Please put on your own show.
Overall, I’m in two minds as to whether I could have missed this show. The performances were strong. I just wished the show itself was equally as strong.