The Middle Child is an entertaining sketch show which tends towards the absurd. The show revolves around the theme of family life, with the occasional detour into something entirely different. Written by the six performers, it is without a doubt original, quirky, and bold. That it opens with a song is excellent, especially because the audience was not particularly large; the song immediately warmed up the crowd, and it was skillfully used to define the roles of the performers within the family. However, it was a shame that the performers started corpsing during the opening number – this made it hard to focus on the cleverly constructed lyrics and the strong impression that the song definitely could have made. Visually, the character of the first scene and of the overall show is clean and functional, indicating solid sketch-show direction by Leo Reich and Izzy Lewis.

"A generally well-balanced, entertaining, and certainly funny show"

The show is strongest when at its most absurd. The ‘bro-code’ sketch, excellently performed by Lottie Elton and Emil Sands, is a good example – it takes something well-known, starts off ordinary, and then gets completely out of hand, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats trying to guess how far it will escalate. The same is true of the father-in-law sketch, which is a real treat – both Molly Windust and Friso de Graaf are highly convincing in their roles in this sketch, and it elevates the entire middle section of the show. Other highlights are the news-sketch – witty in its content and surprisingly polished in its execution – and a scene in which Dan Bishop contemplates whether he will go to a restaurant or not. Both take something normal and make it absurd, with speed and sharpness that match the quality of the jokes. Sketches like these represent the originality and boldness one looks for in new writing.

However, sometimes the excellent writing suffered in the execution. It is understandable that not everything goes perfectly smoothly on opening night, and some unexpected glitches were turned into jokes (as should happen in a comedy show), but a couple of times the effect of an entire sketch got lost in hard-to-follow dialogue and corpsing, and role-switches were sometimes not entirely clear. There were recurring patterns in the direction and lighting design to indicate when the performers fulfilled their family roles and when they played someone else, but one had to pay very close attention to notice this straight away. The occasional small costume change worked well, and this could have been used more often.


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Mountain View

The Revlon Girl review

Overall, The Middle Child is an enjoyable production. The well-written script and at times polished execution make it into a generally well-balanced, entertaining, and certainly funny show. If the performers can make the show’s exterior match the quality of the jokes, the nights to come will undoubtedly be excellent from beginning to end.

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