The Cambridge Geek

Date Night

In a similar vein to favourites like Start/Stop and Don't Start (which also had the excellent Katherine Parkinson), this is a couple-based comedy, looking at the comedic possibilities around the date night. It dives in and out of the conversations between four couples, with the odd setup that while all the women are different people (Monica Dolan, Katherine Parkinson, Catherine Tate and Ellie White), all of the men are Marc Wootton.

"Semi-improv" apprarently, which I assume means they have a general idea of where they're going and who they are, then run with it for ages and edit down to the best bits. Can occasionally be a bit dependent on stereotypes for ease of character development, but that doesn't really feel like the case here. I suspect the pre-planning lets them build in more depth to the character than you can normally sneak in.

Saying that, you can probably think of each of the four couples in terms of a core problem. Maddie and Richard are the post-children career-focused pair, attempting to schedule in some time for mutual appreciation (and in his imagination, intimacy). Barry and Rita's problem is Barry's mother. A helicopter parent who never quite worked out how to take off. Carol and Patrick get the midlife crisis, and Terri and Terry get the inability to notice personal changes.

It doesn't run straight through, with each scene being chopped into bits and sprinkled about, which keeps it galloping along. Probably most amused by the Maddie/Richard work, which was painfully (and believably) awkward while still being entertaining. Though have to also applaud the horrifying mental images conjured up by White regarding advice on fellatio from the mother-in-law. Makes her demonstrate technique on a TRESemmé bottle (which I admit I thought was a type of wine 'til I googled it).

Has a lot of fun back and forth, with no one person feeling overwhelmed, and have to be fairly impressed by Wootton's range of personalities (and personality defects) put on show. Will certainly be keeping up with this one. (And can recommend having a look at Lunch by Marcy Kahan, which is similar but platonic.)

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Sketch Family/Relationships