Review: Sunday Service with Ola

Not your average Church gathering, but not your average comedy show either.

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 06 Aug 2018
31850 large
Sunday Service with Ola

The order of service pamphlet handed to queuing punters for Sunday Service With Ola gets straight to the point, declaring that it's "for saints and sinners. Join the congregation". Their commitment is driven home when "bread and wine" (pizza and Ribena, but no one's keeping score) is graciously served while you wait. 

As the title would suggest, it's a concept comedy show that only performs on the Sabbath this festival. There's an MC, a DJ, and a comfortingly familial vibe to proceedings. The result is far more than the sum of its comedic parts, though, with a showcase hour that genuinely feels like lightning in a bottle. In creating such a laid-back ethos, with members of the "crew" interjecting like the house band on a talk show, the eponymous Ola has struck gold.

The audience are encouraged to play the role of the congregation, sharing their blessings and submitting anonymous confessions or dilemmas — with Ola serving as the agony aunt later on. Guest comics then perform 10-minute slots, which is arguably the only element that has the potential to be hit and miss, but the performers here (Kate Lucas and Tim Renkow) are on good form.

Perhaps the most interesting segment is the panel discussion, tackling pertinent social issues with recourse to snap polls from a carefully assembled focus group – the crowd. It's a soulful, chilled, runaway success of a show that should seriously consider branching out to mid-week Mass.