The set up for this comedy show is a gem and offers plenty of opportunities for belly-on-fire laughs. Who hasn’t sat through a school assembly or review praying for some grand catastrophe – a plague, a nuclear holocaust, anything – to enforce an early curtain call? Unless, of course, you’re on stage reveling or squirming in your 60 seconds of fame oblivious to the fact that no one really cares about your award (except for mum and dad) or your excruciating stage fright.
In The High School Assembly, buckle down as we get to relive the school assembly all over again.
What this show does well is to capture the awkward and amateurish tone of these kinds of events inclusive of strange pauses, strained speeches, youthful self-indulgence and bad dancing. The school band Sex on Toast is a hoot and exemplifies the kind of disengaged, discombobulated acts one is often privy to at these kinds of events. Unfortunately, The High School Assembly relies too heavily on this construct and so the comedy is uneven.
This is the first time I’ve seen the Bedroom Philosopher but I’ve read many rave reviews so I really wanted love this show. Perhaps The High School Assembly is a new format for him – it’s great to see comedians branch out and take risks – but the issue I have with this show is that it’s not quite risky enough.
What audiences love about comedians is that they say the things that most of us only dare to think. Taboo and tragedy can be extremely funny when delivered with clever reflection and a razor wit. I have to wonder with subjects such as bullying, teen pregnancy, the omnipresence of social media, just to name a few, why the comedy doesn’t explore these themes affecting school-aged kids to any depth. When The High School Assembly does venture into more dangerous terrain such as the dance about war it is genuinely funny because of its shock and mock value. It would have been great if there were moments like these.
This is not a terrible show by any means. If you’re happy to be transported back in time and given a license to laugh at the ludicrous nature of school events then you’ll no doubt enjoy yourself. If , however, you’re after a show that pushes the boundaries and makes you feel like you’ve discovered a new frontier in comedy then maybe this show isn’t for you.