Bristol Revunions' new show "National Friends" can be easily summed up in the phrase "missed opportunities." It's a show where the acting talent vastly outstrips the writing ability. The individual performances are all of a pretty good standard, which only serves to make the rather poor sketch composition more bearable than it would otherwise have been. In fact I would go as far as to say that they are, in acting terms, a particularly talented 5-peice, and they all make the best of the material they have.
Unfortunately, "making the best of it" is all even the best comic actors could do with the material on offer here. There are, of course, funny moments, but they are fleeting and unable to keep the audience going for longer than a few minutes before confusion and awkwardness set in once again.
It's really quite difficult to pitch a show of this level of quality, because on the one hand, I want to emphasise that this show is, for the most part, an unpolished disappointment, but on the other hand I don't wish to be unfair to the five performers who really do put a great deal of effort into their delivery and expression.
The individual sketches in "National Friends" are a series of surreal situations, laced through with attempts at cheeky pun-based humour. However, though each sketch has funny parts, not one of them really works as a whole.
There's a confused sketch involving French waiters and a talking teapot, which arguably could have worked if they hadn't rushed to a finish before exploring the comic potential of this idea.
Again, there is another sketch involving a silly parody of famous zombie film "28 Days Later," which has the potential to be genuinely funny, but misses where it should hit.
So much of this show seems rushed and unsettled that the audience is left wondering why they aren't laughing at these clearly talented young performers.
Ultimately, this show is patchy at best. Little gems of comedy are lost amongst a mess of unpolished writing. It's not completely unwatchable, but Bristol Revunions really need to give potentially good ideas time and editing to make this show worth the money.
Show Times: Til 28 Aug (not 16), 15:40
Ticket Prices: £7.50 (£6.50)