By Robert Nichols
Friday 22 Jul 2011 15:45:00
Browse all On The Beat - Reviews articles


Get along to ARC tonight to see one of the funniest shows you will witness all year long. The IMPOSSIBLY BIG Sketch Show is in the middle of a three night run that will have you laughing yourself silly. That is a promise.


The amazing thing about this performance is that it has been written, performed and produced by a group of people that were largely complete novices to the stage. That was before they came under the svengali like clutches of James Harris and Laura Degnan at Writers Block North East in Middlesbrough. Everyone was welcome to drop in for weekly sessions where the creative juices were encouraged to flow and then channel those efforts into a once a season showcase at Stockton Arc.


The standards are so sky high. The fact that many of these people are first time performers or writers soon seems amazing and actually becomes irrelevant because bottom line is they are good. Really good.


I attended the last Writers Block North East Arc event Easter Funnies, I loved it and wrote a review to say as much. But I tell you what, a couple of months down the line and everyone has upped their game. Even the new intake. The IMPOSSIBLY BIG Sketch Show was quite simply HUGE step up. I’m talking in terms of comedy acting skills, comedy writing and the way the whole show of nearly 30 sketches flowed together. In short it was funnier even than Easter Funnies.


There were no first night nerves in evidence, although the Sketch Show opened by poking fun on actors freezing with stage fright on first sight at the big audience. By the way The Arc’s Studio was pretty packed out and absolutely loving it. We saw Paparazzi chasing big haired Cheryl Cole, hang on isn’t that Phil Collins? An arrogant lifeguard is outsmarted by pesky kids. The tv repairman has villainous angst for his appliance. Salvation Army is a bit too arm-ee. Strange happenings at the séance where it seems not everyone in heaven is angelic. Your worst nightmare passengers on a bus. Death row trial by tv. And much, much more.


I loved all the quick fire shorts about Teesside supermen, with uncomfortable utility belts and highly dubious special powers. Look out for the advice from mother that you really should have heeded.


A really big cast all chipped in through this array of fast-paced comedy capers. Oh and as a warning, you might just get more than you bargained for with the equal opportunities interview. I’m saying nothing about the raunchy stage act but put it this way I was having nightmares all night and the flashbacks have still to ware off.


As surreal escapes go this one went off in the deep end and came up smelling of roses.


The IMPOSSIBLY Big Sketch Show is on this evening (Fri 22nd July) and Sat 23rd July at Arc - 7.45pm. Last 1hr and quarter and flies by.

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Current overall rating after 15 votes: 9.97
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