The Leeds Tealights return to the Fringe this year with a brand-new offering for their eager audiences. Fix Us showcases their diversity and talent through a mixture of sketches and dance routines. It is centered around the fissures in the group, and how it affects their onstage performances.
The sketches themselves are all written intelligently, using both wordplay and clichés to humorous effect. Themes of sexism (usually regarding the leading woman) and disunity emerge, playing off the stereotype that thespians are all selfish and entitled. They are playful in their mockery of golfers, Tesco adverts, and GCSE drama productions, while weaving in the tension between them that becomes obvious as the hour goes on.
Not all of the jokes land as well as others, but none drag on too long and their delivery is excellent every time. The running gag of a theatre critic attending their show, prompting them all to try and make themselves look better, is enough to keep the show moving along nicely. The music in between set changes is also well-chosen; it usually relates to the previous skit, and maintains the energy built up by the small cast.
It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that the Leeds Tealights have perfected the formula of witty dialogue, novel ideas, and good comedic timing. It may not be particularly highbrow humour, and there isn’t much deeper meaning below the surface regarding the current social climate, but then again, perhaps the expectation placed on performers to be aggressively aware of these issues is getting overwhelming anyway.
It is far better to stick to what you know than attempting to cram political wisecracks in at every opportunity – something that many comedians fall foul of. The Leeds Tealights don’t need serious undertones to make this production meaningful; it is suitably achieved through their humourous interactions with each other.