Funny Comedians? It's that crazy it might just work!

Wittank
Walker Theatre
Theatre Severn
9/November/2012

As a reviewer one gets to see a lot of shows; it goes with the territory. In that widely contrasting backdrop one is exposed to a lot of the comedy that appears to be making it as the current top of the pops and, well, quite frankly, this poor reviewer’s heart sinks as these slick, let's be matey, guys, all race to see who can get the first obscenity in.

As a former Priorian, (a scary grammar school that used to emit foul odours and frightened schoolboys, at the bottom of Claremont Bank) you will be aware that I have been exposed to more than enough school boy vulgarity to fill my quota. I have been looking for something new, and in all honesty so has British Comedy. The vulgarity has become so standardised that I realised the alternative comedy movement was just the same as the old one with jeans on.

So what a breath of fresh air it was to stumble across the Reverend Spooner’s nightmare that is, Wittank. Comprising of three very funny and highly intelligent performers Naz, Mark and Kieran, Wittank is possibly the fix it, that the comedy movement needs right now.

Sadly people seemed reluctant to fork out for tonight’s show and the audience was of humble size, however as a testament to their professionalism, the boys played this gig as though they were conquering an entire Albert Hall. With their, I defy you not to laugh approach, the boys had their audience from the start.

Splitting the show into two halves the first half being stand up and the second half being sketch-comedy, the comedians weaved their way through their two hour show causing real and genuine belly laughs. Naturally the start was a get to know you sort of approach. Respecting the audience instead of hurling a maelstrom of four letter profanities the boys quickly decided who was worth picking on and poked gentle but extremely witty fun at anyone in their sights.

This wasn’t the sort of comedy that has us squirming, this wasn’t Bernard Manning or Chubby Brown this was funny because it was about being daring. Saying that one comment that should remained unsaid or in fact not even saying it at all just intimating it, gives this crew an intellectual edge that the young professional audience seemed to delight in. There were no jokes, who ever said that joke telling is a hilarious art form anyway? There were observations, acutely funny and for the most,deadly accurate.

The trio were affable and flexible. They were never in any danger of losing to the heckler in the back. In fact, had anyone thought bravely enough  for the odd heckle Wittank is a safe pair of hands and would have taken anyone on measure for measure and come out triumphant. You don’t cut your teeth on the Edinburgh Fringe and come out alive unless you can do it. As for these graduates of that toughest of arenas for comedy, the Walker Theatre audience was a breeze.

The second half of the show was made up of extremely off the wall and mostly hilarious sketches. This gave the guys chance to show that not only can they make people laugh they are also good actors, singers and musicians. Alarmingly those are all the skills that the comedians that cause yawns today had at the start of their careers too.

The great mill that is television sterilises comedians, re-moulds them gives them crazy haircuts and we see the character that they have been working on since birth turn into something corporate, unfunny, safe and boring then like forlorn donkeys in a sanctuary, they are eventually put out to grass on late night satellite tv shows.

I hope this won't be the fate of Wittank, currently these guys have the intelligence, integrity and absolute individuality that TV might destroy. If that were to be happen it would be a shame, but by the same token if these lads aren’t a household name within the next two years it will be a gross injustice and a lot of people who might have had a good laugh will be deprived of it and that’s just wrong.

See them, Watch them, Love them.

This is a four star review.

Owen Lewis
 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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