Karen Barry reviews Jack and Jordan: A Sketch Show on 28th July 2022 at Theatre in the Hut, Weston-super-Mare
You’ve probably noticed that Weston is going through a bit of a cultural rebirth right now, with Upfest murals springing up left, right and centre as part of Weston Wallz, the arrival of the See Monster at The Tropicana and loads of brilliant workshops, exhibitions and music gigs popping up all over the town in the summer as part of the Weston Presents series. However, you well might have missed one of my personal favourite things to have exploded onto the arts scene here in my beloved hometown, and if you have then its my duty to draw your attention to the very wonderful bunch of humans who make up the From the Mud cabaret group. From the Mud are a group of ex-University Centre Weston alumni who formed in 2021 and now put on a monthly cabaret show at the Stable Games Room, with music, drama, poetry, and acts that defy description. They tell you that anything could happen, and it usually does. (Dildo to the face anyone?!) Not content with the monthly show, the group are currently halfway through a summer festival, and I was privileged to be invited along to Theatre in the Hut to review Jack & Jordan: A Sketch Show last night, one of several shows taking place this week.
Jack Stringer and Jordan Cottle have been friends for around 10 years, and one of the main things that hits you about this show is the beautiful chemistry and obvious friendship that the pair share. Their camaraderie is clear, they make each other laugh a lot and they trust in that enough to take risks with what they are bringing to the audience. On their Facebook page, they describe the show as ‘Jack and Jordan go full silly’, and it really didn’t disappoint. From the off the pace is frenetic and doesn’t let up for the 70 minutes they spend taking us on a journey through their chaotic minds. I’m a regular at Weston Artspace as are Jack and Jordan, so I have heard this show in development and know the hours and hours that have been put into making this slick, occasionally stupid (in the best kind of way) and hilarious show seem effortless. The pair are beautifully in synch and rarely miss a beat. They are not afraid to leave big pauses for comic affect, there is a perfect mix of short, sharp, surreal, silly snippets and longer more involved sketches, albeit equally as silly. There is usually the ‘straight’ man to support the silly one in most comedy pairings, but in this partnership they are both as daft as each other. I’m not sure what it says about my stupid sense of humour, but I was laughing so loudly during their ‘Pine nut’ song that I am sure I was distracting those around me. The audience participation dance off scene had me giggling uncontrollably whilst also being very glad I hadn’t been dragged up onto the stage! I also need to congratulate them on their energy which stayed high the whole way through; it was hot in there and I felt for them but it didn’t seem to throw them off. A special mention also goes to From the Mud producer Jess Hicks who did a sterling job of tech for the night in an unfamiliar venue, it gave that extra bit of polish to the show.
As Jack and Jordan said themselves, they covered a lot of ground and I have to say I thought it was bloody brilliant! If you missed them last night, then don’t feel too downhearted; they are returning with the show on 17th November at the Rondo Theatre in Bath. However, I am certain that these two are destined for great things, so I’m sure there will be many more opportunities in the future to catch them, and see if you can figure out what a pine nut is! Also, I urge you to get to The Stable Games Room on Saturday 30th for the From the Mud final big show of the festival, where the usual crew will be performing. I’m lucky to have met and got to know this lot over the last few years and its great to see them coming into their own, gaining confidence and owning the venues they play in. Jack and Jordan in particular? I salute you, but I NEVER want to do a dance off with you…