Fionn Clarke

I smile intermittently. Dive is an episodic sketch show based around puns and stress-fuelled student humour, which definitely suits certain people more than others. Some people, apparently including the writers, are more committed than I am to the idea that puns have endless humour potential. With some fast-paced and well-balanced sketches and some less successful scenes, and also a crab masturbation joke, the show is ultimately unremarkable in a nonetheless entertaining way.

Realistically, having an hour-long sketch show entirely themed around being underwater really did seem to limit the writers, even if it gave some sort of cohesion to the individual sketches. The style and quality of joke seemed more or less random throughout. This did mean though that were some pleasant surprises, and sometimes you might zone out and wake up to a guy ventriloquising with plastic bottles and cracking jokes about climate change. The show’s minimal cast, five actors who were rarely all on stage at the same time, could have easily exhausted itself quickly. Collectively, however, they managed to sustain the show for the whole hour without any signs of flagging (though to say it didn’t lose direction would be meaningless in a show which didn’t seem to have any direction in the first place). They did this mainly through the extensive and forceful use of props. This was an area in the show that worked well: stylised successfully, it was executed with a real self-awareness of the inevitably amateurish style that the resources of a low budget student show would allow.

The show is ultimately unremarkable in a nonetheless entertaining way.

The show wasn’t polished by any means, even with the caveat that it was the opening night. The mistaken or missed lines and, for the most part, poorly integrated tech features added to an overall sense of awkwardness. This would have been more of an issue with a more serious show, but here it just made you grit your teeth slightly at times. Luckily the show as a whole remained self-aware enough that these moments helped create an atmosphere of watching your friends do dumb things to make you laugh.

There were a lot of little flashes of brilliance throughout that manage to redeem the show into something you might want to watch. Often the shorter sketches work better and the ad libbed sketch especially suited the actors more; here the humour was much less forced, landing better, and the more natural performance showed the actors as potentially funnier than the script allowed. That being said, Calum Macleod, the standout cast member, proves that having a Scottish accent does just factually make your jokes funnier. Unfortunately, the biggest mistake the writers made in the script was getting Sam Drysdale, the actor playing Michael Phelps, only take off his swimming cap at the end, because his hair alone would’ve carried the show.


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There were some moments of actual laughter but most of the time the sketches were worthy of nothing beyond a cursory smile. For that reason, the show becomes much more bearable if you go into it imagining it as entertainment rather than comedy. Be prepared for the wild variance in quality of jokes, but also the wide variety in type of joke – there should be at least one you find funny. If you’re looking for something refined, cohesive, or even well put together, you won’t find it here. If you’re stressed and looking for surreal and quite extensively pun-based escapism, then you should see Dive.

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