The Cambridge Geek

The Skewer

[UPDATE - 30th January 2020]: This is mostly an "eating crow" update. I wasn't sure you could get a series out of the 15 minute pilot, but they've managed it. Part of that is the frenetic nature, with elements never taking longer than a minute, and the more serious images being combined with some silliness, particularly the songs. Certainly enjoyed the four episodes so far, enough that I've relistened a couple of times.

[ORIGINAL - 5th April 2019]: Okay, this is a weird one. It uses a format you've likely seen previously, where unrelated recorded material is mixed with a newly written/spoken section for comedic effect, but pushes it much further. For specific examples, see any of Milton Jones' shows where he ends up having a conversation with songs from famous bands, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue's chats with a script, or Matt Berry's recent effort. (The idea goes back a long way.)

This pushes the envelope in a couple of different ways though. Firstly, it's all "stock" material that's been tied together, meaning that the entire thing has to be built pretty carefully, as you can't cheat and simply come up with dialogue that makes half-decent sense of the foolishness being played.

Secondly, it's intensely topical, pulling heavily from news and political sources, to point out the absurdity and hypocrisy of, well, all of British politics at the moment. This is both a strength (I have to be impressed by the way some of the positions are pulled apart) and also a weakness, because I honestly loathe hearing some people nowadays. Rees-Mogg is particularly horrible, and actually, that's the one really low ebb, because he's such a strange listless figure, it's hard to play off him. Did enjoy what Piers Morgan got though.

The lyricism of the piece is rather wonderful, but I'm now worried just how much of it I'd already seen in 280 characters or less. This is "Twitter: The Musical", except for the sudden and unexpected Monty Python, which I'll always enjoy. The musicality is definitely impressive however, and someone has obviously got a good ear for the poetic form.

Everything gets hit fairly briefly, but I'm not sure at the moment whether you could stretch this one significantly further without showing cracks in it. While the satire is pointed, it's also a little thin. My fear is that if you tried something along the lines of Dead Ringers' approach, with repeat episodes, it would struggle to keep coming with novel approaches to a given topic.

Still, as a one off, it's an interesting work, and worth the quarter hour it will take you.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Informative News/Political