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The Leeds Tealights: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Leeds University's sketch comedy troupe, The Tealights, performed their semester two show in The Lending Room at Library Pub. The audience looked up to the five chairs equally spaced out at the back of the stage, with warm white lighting that spread evenly across the stage. We had a warmful welcome from stand-up comedian Evie Cowen who invited us into their delirious and hysterical life from a child to fruity nights out at fruity, filling the room with laughter and easing the audience into The Leeds Tealights.

The six members of The Tealights, Alice, Phoebe, Ellen, Callum, Harry and Malachy are uniformed in burgundy or red wine coloured long-sleeved polo t-shirt (or is that just my red wine speaking?) paired with black trousers. The Tealights get into their model poses all staggered in the front of the stage, where each of them blurt out obscured thoughts about themselves. A cut of Judge Judy scenes fuels the fun of the stupidity of the performances of people live on TV. The sketches were spaced out between two sections and snapped effectively between one another with a variation of the comedians performing a set at each time. We as the audience are the jury, and the Leeds Tealights are convincing us that they are not guilty through sketch comedy. How else would you convince a jury of your innocence?

Poster designed by Em Humble.

The sound effects were immaculately on time with the comedy of the show; moreover musical transitions used as part of the comedy. At points, laughter bounced off the room walls whilst in the darkness of a blackout. The props were limited but used effectively to tell stories. A mixture of mimicking TV show stand-ups and mocking the absurdity that is British TV was particularly effective: a perfect example of this is Naked Attraction, where the Tealights used their hands to uncover parts of their body whilst Alice, imitating the show host, blurts out the absurd personalities of the contestants, their stage presence and energy adding to the brilliant comedic timing.

A few of my favourite stand out sketches were Harry’s and Malachy’s introduction in their first sketch about the Duolingo owl: Harry imitating the owl and Malachy begging the owl that he doesn’t need to learn Portuguese, whilst Alice is begging Malachy for help and needs him to speak Portuguese to help her which brings the ironic sketch together. Callum plays with physical comedy by falling gracefully onto the floor in each of the acts, while Phoebe and Ellen take us back to Jane Austen and Florence Nightingale, albeit with a Gen-Z aura. The combination of short, sweet sketches with longer build-ups of hilarious, energetic acts that bounce off into the audience was brilliantly used for the audience participation in the performance as a whole.

The Leeds Tealights convinced us of their innocence through sketch comedy. The comedians staggered perfectly at the front of the stage in their own model poses. The Leeds Tealights: Jury Duty performed on the 14th & 15th of March in The Lending Room at the Library Pub. If you haven’t already seen the Leeds Tealights and ever fancy a good laugh and a pint be sure to keep updated with more of their shows on their Instagram account @leedstealights

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