The Jest: The Five Humours

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 09 Aug 2015

Absurdism is the belief that the individual exists in a meaningless, chaotic universe. The Jest must have another definition in mind when they describe themselves as practitioners of absurdist sketch comedy, however, possibly one involving an endless succession of Harry Potter movie references.

Like all sketch groups, they enact unlikely, offbeat situations, but this does not equate to them having any insight into our world or the human condition. In essence, they are a self-consciously dark drama school revue. Only one of the five performers displays a sense of natural comic timing and delivery. That he shows genuine conviction and range makes it all the more heartbreaking to look on as his friends enthusiastically drag him down. One thinks her shrill histrionics can compensate for generally weak material, while the delight another shows in playing the part of a blubbering infant is unsettling in the face of overwhelming audience apathy. Even the collective's straight man is unable to convey any sense of gravitas or thwarted authority.

An idea about a boy haunted after inadvertently eating his childhood pet pig is too limp to withstand repeated outings, while a sales pitch for animal cosmetics doesn't take a strong idea far enough. Elsewhere, we're exhorted to laugh at a fat man's quivering belly, and roped into weak audience participation seemingly intended keep the late night crowd awake and alert.