Review: RAG against the Machine by ComedySoc ★★★★★


Fresh and exciting, ComedySoc returned to the Annex Theatre for a night of comedy sketches and improv, and was a roaring success. Raising money for RAG, RAG against the Machine kept up the momentum that they gained from their last two successful shows, Sketchpad, and Clusterfuck, bringing the laughs again to a sold out crowd.

As someone who went to Sketchpad, and thoroughly enjoyed it last time, I had high expectations of the show. These were more than matched. The vast majority of the time I really enjoyed all of the sketches, and was laughing more than I wasn’t. This has certainly shown that student comedy can be as funny as what you would pay for in a large, professional theatre.

The sketches in general were of a very high standard, with more consistency in the quality than Sketchpad. Personal favourites were ‘Tell Him/Tell Her’ satirising the posts on these type of facebook pages, and ‘Holmes and Watson’ which played on Holmes and Watson interactions at a crime scene. ‘Vampires’ and ‘White Council’ were also fantastic. The presence of a character from earlier sketches carrying a custard pie making his way across the stage at various points caused raucous laughter, again emphasising that simple moments of humour can leave you in stitches, something that ComedySoc emphatically proved with Sketchpad.

There were a couple of the sketches which didn’t quite connect to all of the audience members – while I found the sketches on the Lord of the Rings and Hamlet very witty and well done, it went over the head of my companion who has less knowledge of said material than me. That being said, I really enjoyed the way that they played on the tropes of both things, and I think that there is definitely a place for geeky, witty comedy on stage.

Once again, for me the improv provided some of the best moments of the whole show. Credit has to be given to the creators of the show, as for the improv sections of the show they did a mix of old favourites from shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?  and original games made up for the night. A personal favourite was one where the improv team had to act out an interrogation for a murder, with the audience shouting out interjections, and the improv actors having to roll with whatever was said. The sentence “You were all cheating on her with” being completed by an audience’s shout of “The Fresh Prince of Bell Air” certainly provided one of the biggest laughs, once again proving that an engaged crowd often makes for the best comedy moments, so it is a credit to ComedySoc that they got the crowd invested and engaged in the material that they presented. Highlights of the improv sections included the depiction of a ‘drunk baby giraffe’, Dobby the House Elf on steroids and a man made of glue.

My only complaint would be that the show felt a little short. This is certainly a credit, in that the time flew by, and I didn’t feel like I needed an interval. That being said, I would have happily stayed sat in the Annex for another hour.

A five star show which kept up the laughs and made me excited for what ComedySoc does next.

If you missed it the first time, or want to relive the sketches again, you can watch the playlist of shows here.


About Author

Studying for my PhD focusing on Eighteenth Century Pirate Literature. Writer 2011-2013, Culture Editor 2013-2014, Editor 2014-2015, Culture Exec 2015-2016, Writer 2016-2017. Longest serving Edgeling ever is a title I intend to hold forever.


  1. An Inspector Calls was a different sketch (the hospice for underused words) – the Sherlock sketch was simply called “Holmes & Watson”. 🙂

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