Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

Review: Sketchy Characters at The Nottingham New Theatre

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.


Kicking off The Nottingham New Theatre’s autumn Fringe Season, Sketchy Characters by Jamie Drew and Ian Sheard proves to be not only exceedingly well written but also well timed, well acted and, well, undeniably funny.

With its cast of six, Sketchy Characters delves into various absurd and often parodied worlds which allows its company the unique ability to portray multiple characters during the show’s hour runtime. Despite the potential for this to confuse audience members, each of the actors revived their most memorable roles at different stages within the show, tying together sketches, harking back to previous jokes and overall making it a much more succinct performance than many sketch shows manage to achieve. It was this distinctive quality that managed to make the audience sit back and go ‘Ah, that’s clever’, because this show is extremely clever in the way it pulls together seemingly unrelated sketches into something that, by the end, makes sense as a whole.

‘Hold onto your arse’, laughter is a contagious disease which spreads rapidly, Emma Kendall warns the audience in the first sketch. And she was right, you could feel it spread through the audience, bouncing off the walls of the Trent Building’s Great Hall.  Indeed, when presented with absurd accents (notably Josh Battaliou’s Scottish one), Thomas the Tank Engine (Jess Curtis) searching for more acting work and the bizarre tale of Bulk (Arnaud Lacey), a racially sensitive version of the Hulk, how could one resist laughing at the ridiculousness of it all? One sketch in particular, a twist upon a classical tale that featured the securing of a dog sufficient enough to guard the gates of hell, caused a lot of laughter among the audience as Frank (Izzy Miles), Hades’ personal assistant, could only supply a three-legged Chihuahua for the job, much to the annoyance of the king of the Underworld (Alice Simmons).


Perhaps more notable than the bizarre themes found within Drew and Sheard’s sketches was the use of both visual and verbal puns within these skits. Now, one may be tempted to groan at the concept of frequent puns yet, surprisingly, they were all tastefully done and were actually amusing rather than groan-inducing. One noteworthy appearance was Josh Battaliou as a funeral director, whom attempted to literally direct a funeral, visually aided by his director’s sunglasses and flat cap. There was also a spattering of physical humour and whilst this type of humour isn’t really my thing, other audience members appreciated the hilarity of Arnaud Lacey’s portrayal of Earth, after whom Emma Kendall’s character named our planet. Earth, who could perhaps be described as a bit slow, rolled around on the floor with a chair in between his legs, coaxing certain audience members into a fit of giggles.

For me, one of the most impressive things was that Drew and Sheard didn’t give into that seedy, uncomfortable and offensive type of humour that can be found lurking in dingy back alley drinking-man’s pubs and clubs. They could have easily overstepped the mark yet no, their comedy remained, whilst not completely PG rated (I mean, it is a university audience we’re talking about here!), fun, fresh and spot-on and for this, I applaud them.

For more information on the show and how to buy tickets:









3rd year BA English student at The University of Nottingham (UK), Reviews Editor for Her Campus Nottingham.