REVIEW: The Durham Revue: Unnatural Disaster, Edinburgh Fringe 2019 ★★★★☆

“Have you ever seen Mr Tumnus’s foreskin?”

The Durham Revue is back at the Edinburgh Fringe with Unnatural Disaster, another eclectic mix of weird and wacky sketches. Themed around the end of the world, the Revue tour the audience through some truly inventive comedy: the revelation that Narnia is predominantly Jewish; Teletubbies’ Noo-Noo performing a reading from his dramatic memoirs; a teacher indulging in her students’ blood ritual as an example of group activity.

To varying degrees, all of the sketches revolve around expectations and pulling the rug out from under the audience (a core tenet of sketch comedy, as the Revue themselves reiterate during the ‘how to write a sketch’ sketch). It keeps the audience watching sketches closely, scanning for clues as to their true direction; the majority land, with the exception of a few shorter skits.

But this is balanced out by the strength of what does work (the writing really is quite good), made all the better by the equally strong performers themselves. The team have a flow and kinetic chemistry that works incredibly well – I was engaged and loving it for the entire show. Their inventiveness is also applied to the format itself; no spoilers, but I thought the ending was quite fun, and the more self-referential sketches work really well With Unnatural Disaster, the Durham Revue have cemented themselves as some of the strongest student comedy performers at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

You can catch The Durham Revue: Unnatural Disaster at Underbelly, Cowgate, 16:00, until August 25th.