Review: The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged)

Reduced Shakespeare Comedy's The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged)

Reduced Shakespeare Comedy's The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) - Credit: Archant

Talking about comedy is seldom that funny, so aiming for an entertaining history of it was a brave move for the Reduced Shakespeare Comedy.

Promising to cover everything from caveman slapstick to Chris Brown's standup, they enticed a near-sell out crowd to the Norwich Playhouse for 90 minutes of hopefully hysterical history.

The actual outcome was more wryly amusing than laugh out loud, as the three-strong cast interweaved their own jokes with concise explanations of ancient Greek comedy, 16th century commedia dell'arte, the early days of silent film, and a song name checking numerous modern comedians that bemusingly picked out Mike McShane for a mention.

The trio are an impressively tight unit, frantically swapping costumes and roles without missing a step, and the historical elements are interesting, but much of the material is fairly obvious fare.

The show climaxes with a prolonged skit about Rambozo the Clown – an apparent reference to a Dead Kennedy's anti-Vietnam song – that fails to really make an impression, and was not the only cross-cultural references to be lost on the Norwich audience.


You may also want to watch:


This is comfortable comedy. Enjoyable, reasonably engaging, and a decent night out, but it's not going to merit inclusion in any future history of comedy – even an extended version.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus