I promise not to reveal punchlines. Well, just one.
I went to see the Comedy Knights last night. The experience was not quite as intense as last year’s but there was a more enthusiastic appetite for laughter and the crew fed that appetite most heartily.
As I always like to say when I write these things I’m not qualified to be a theatre critic.
As a consummate amateur I can say Comedy Knights remains a sight for sore eyes. You’d wish you could have that sort of biting satire on Sunday TV every week. This would be a different country if people learnt to stop thinking of their political idols as moulded by the hand of a god.
It’s also of some comfort to think that the political humour is shared by an entire theatre. Besieged as we are by a media landscape carved out between the two political parties, we tend to assume no one quite thinks like us.
You can’t be a loyal follower of One or Net — you know the type — and laugh at the jokes that were being fired yesterday. And since the producers of the Comedy Knights fill that theatre several times over the run of the show, it must mean that critical faculties are not quite as rare as we sometimes think they are.
As with every clown, behind the actors’ and the authors’ painted smiles, lies a dark sadness. Laughter keeps them away from despair perhaps, but not from anger and frustration. More than once the cast reverts to type and shows up on stage holding up a protest banner.
When they’re playing a different part, the part of the powerful and the corrupt, they are squirming their way out of disgust, releasing their fury in irony, sweetening bitterness without diluting the poison.
They are angry at mediocrity, corruption, over-development, ignorance, hypocrisy, pettiness. All the things that would stop you laughing, unless, like them, you were a professional.
To do that they use musical theatre, slapstick, witty sketches, dance and even a sprinkle of stand-up.
Like most people I laugh most heartily at the Sliema girls. (“Mah, you’re such a Sacred Heart girl!”). And I happily worship at the feet of the pedestal on which Michall the Clueless stands to bless her subjects. Or is that subchecks?
The drag acts are funny but I find them a bit anachronistic if I’m honest. When I think of drag queens, I no longer think of hairy chests and mismatched wigs that firm up rather than blur the conventional shackles of gender. I rather think of Eddie Izzard. But as complaints go, that’s minor.
Go to see the Comedy Knights. A night out is no excuse to stop being angry about corruption. But you might as well laugh about it.