WitTank: Old School Secrets (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

WitTank: Old School Secrets

Smart, psychotic and very funny twisted world presented by comedy trio

The moments of insanity scattered throughout WitTank’s new show make Old School Secrets a must-see. There is no reason why a boisterous Shania Twain should be visiting a boarding school to perform at their New Year’s Eve party but Naz Osmanoglu pulls it out of the bag. His Twain is as gratuitous as it is baffling, and – worries Osmanoglu – incomprehensible to some of the audience. ‘You were one when I was at my most famous,’ he trills to a youngster. This sheer bewilderment epitomises what WitTank do best: mad moments of surreality, the unexpectedness of which illuminate a loosely flowing sketch narrative.

WitTank – Kieran Boyd, Mark Cooper-Jones and Osmanoglu – continue last year’s The School theme, concocting an all-boys’ establishment at its most degenerate and improbable. Teachers are drugged and kidnapped, sadistic prefects run the place, and the headmaster’s pet is a Welsh killer whale with insatiable blood lust. As well as easy jokes about barbarous teachers and posh dimwits (which may hit close to home given the reputation of Edinburgh university students), a darker thread runs through the skits; though throwaway asides and smart deconstruction are never far from the surface.

Osmanoglu appears to have marked himself as star of the show, but his hamminess is the right side of unbearable and his adlibs are spot-on; he delivers a mad rant about the pointlessness of an ex-boarder trying to follow a different path in life (exploring creativity, trying to get into comedy, bankrupting yourself by taking a show to the Fringe) with a slick self-awareness that is evident throughout. The twisted world they have created is smart, psychotic and very funny.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, 7.40pm; 22 & 23 Aug, 11.40pm, £10--£12 (£9--£10).

WitTank: Old School Secrets

  • Directed by: Adam Brace.

Sketch and character comedy from Mark Cooper-Jones, Naz Osmanoglu and Kieran Boyd, who invite audiences into the ostentatiously furnished corridors of The School.