The Wheatsheaf is well-trodden ground for these two Oxford Imps and Revue members, who are now performing their debut hour as a duo. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I Slept In These Clothes is experimental comedy at its finest: Chloe Jacobs and Verity Babbs present an hour of laid-back fun, the perfect antidote to the end of term fatigue.
The night began with a 20 minute set from Chloe Jacobs, whose calm confidence immediately put her audience at ease. This was arguably a miracle given her savage, but incredibly witty, crowd-work: every person who dared to interact was subject to some parring, and one audience member’s involvement became a running joke for the entire show. Poor Sid. It was in this improvisation that Jacobs really shone, which juxtaposed nicely with her more fixed material. The decision to read out some of the erotic Twilight fan-fiction she penned as an 11 year old was inspired. Her now wise (and mildly embarrassed) commentary punctuated readings from the wild imaginings of her youth, and she brutally ripped her own writing as much as she had the audience. There was a subtle and innocent humour, from the depictions of characters to confused descriptions of ice-skating and sex, all tinged with the bold know-it-all air of an 11 year old child. Mention must also go to her fantastic rendition of Cascada’s Everytime We Touch: a nostalgic blast from the past that was much appreciated.
After a brief break, Jacobs was joined for some improv by Verity Babbs for arguably the most consistently strong section of the show. The ease with which the two bounced off each other and the suggestions they were given was very impressive, and made their audience keen to get involved. Particular highlights included a pick-up line battle, using a personal text conversation as a script, and a scene where audience members had to finish their sentences. The final of these was a particular treat: having picked two female audience members who turned out to be very witty themselves, the stage was dominated by funny women, which is (unfortunately) something you don’t often get to see in comedy.
The final section of the show featured a series of sketches performed by Verity Babbs, using an impressive variety of props and costumes, and incorporated alongside some one-liner voiceovers. Her energy made this sudden change of pace and genre a nice conclusion to the show, and was definitely needed given the comedic success of the improv. The sketches themselves were surreal and the undoubtedly the most avant-garde part of the show. Whilst my personal favourites were the very odd ones that lacked punchlines, Babbs peppered the act with zingers to keep a more sceptical audience on-side, and this was certainly well-gauged. Her clownish antics fed off the improv spirit, including the audience in silly interactions reminiscent of a child’s birthday party. These sketches were wild and hilarious, and acted as the perfect end to a night of boisterous fun at the Wheatsheaf.
The stage, covered in water, bagels and beer pong, was a hot mess, and so was this night. But this, surely, is what student comedy is all about: Babbs and Jacobs incorporated the experimental alongside the tried and tested, giving their audience expected laughs, but also something new. These two are most certainly ones to watch.