zazU: Raisins to Stay Alive

Four piece sketch act zazU certainly know how to start with a bang. Harrie Hayes, Maddy Rice, Tom Machell and Nick Read go full on frantic as red flashing warning lights and a booming voice announce that the land of zazU will flip over in 12 hours, and their deaths are inevitable. Although one character can save the world by getting his hands on something that is exceptionally rare to find on the world – raisins.

Raisins to Stay Alive almost screams ‘platform’, ready to transfer to TV, with shades of Yonderland and Mighty Boosh, not that this is meant to be a criticism. A made up world with relatable world traits but bent into a constant stream of surrealism that initially tickled me but began to become a source of irritation. The constant requirement to be obscure left me unconvinced that the writing lacked true comic instinct, punch lines irrelevant to the set-up, characters bursting on scene without real cause and at times writing that lacked effort, exemplified by a skit involving a bucket list.

This is not to say that Raisins To Stay Alive isn’t an entertaining show. The performances are immense, slick with impressive accent work to give the various characters differentials. Although there are laughs throughout and some will be entertained in the show’s duration, I couldn’t help but feel this is catered more towards theatre audiences than hardened comedy goers.

★★★

Chris Aitken

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