Review: The Day The Mirth Stood Still
Review by Paige Meintzer
Though I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the talents of Blind Mirth in the past, this was by far the funniest I have ever seen them. Their self-proclaimed attempt to “actually remember lines” in place of their usual improv had the audience in tears of laughter throughout. The scripted sketch show began with the audience entering the Byre to witness two members of the comedy group on either end of a bicycle, cycling around the stage, straight-faced, to Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana’, which set the tone perfectly.
The show continued with a series of sketches depicting every imaginable scenario - from an incompetent St Andrews tour guide preaching the town’s virtues (in a clearly inauthentic Fife accent) to a scene in which Shakespeare is berated by Ben Jonson (Kate Kitchens) and Christopher Marlowe (Eimear Duggan) for the sexist and racist nature of his plays. This particularly hilarious scene included the three characters reviewing all of Shakespeare’s potential ideas for plays (Othello, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice) which they all initially find promising, only for Shakespeare to finally shout something along the lines of: “Oh yeah… and it happened ‘cause his crazy fucking wife made him do it”. Jonson later proclaimed in response that in four hundred years no one would ever be willing to perform his works.
The sketches were appropriately broken up with the instrumental music of Saint Motel’s ‘My Type’ and a disembodied announcer shouting Cabaret-style: “Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs, please welcome to the stage…” In addition to this, one or two actors enacted a running pun on the words ‘Blind Mirth’, e.g. ‘find Perth’, ‘metallic mined earth’, ‘alternative birth’). The actors’ quick costume and set changes throughout the performance were highly impressive, though a few fallen chips remained on the stage after the first sketch - one of which was later picked up and effectively used as a makeshift cigarette.
The show ended with a sketch set “sixteen years” into the Vietnam War with a Sergeant (Liam Mitchell) and one of his soldiers (James Hall) crawling through the jungle. As their enemies encroach, the Sergeant asks his private if he has been trained in anything, to which the private responds that the only thing he has been trained in is disco. Not only do the two defeat the last of the opposing army through use of disco, but they enter the Vietnamese headquarters to discover that Richard Nixon (Peter Bothwell) has been leading their army since his impeachment. After defeating Nixon in a roller-disco feud, Mitchell stares seriously into the audience, deploring how “sick” war is. To which Hall responds: “Sick? Oh no, Sarge, I wouldn’t want you to catch… “Night Fever”…” At which point the entire cast appears, dancing ridiculously to the Bee Gees’ classic hit.
Blind Mirth’s attempt to “actually remember lines” was certainly a success and I would highly recommend attendance at any of their future performances.