Camden Fringe 2012
Trio Making Faces deliver a wonderfully scruffy hour of sketches, songs and poems, themed around anxiety and our response to it. Catchy tunes and plenty of audience interaction make it feel like you’re in a friend’s living-room. A strange friend.
Bounding onstage with a guitar, xylophone and Heath-Robinson drum kit, Making Faces set the pace and pitch of the show from the off. With songs, poems and sketches, we are told, they’ll be exploring anxiety, stress and life.
Each Face gets a chance to shine: Lizzie Kevan has beautifully observed performances, and Ed Mayhew’s musicianship drives the songs into your head (I think my favourite chorus was: ‘Put all your troubles in a bag/Then they’ll all be in a bag’). But it’s Dan Curtis who really stands out with his incredible physical comedy. The first sketch involves him donning a yellow bio-hazard suit and rollerblades, and his energy and timing with this would wring laughter from a corpse. Also, I’ve always suspected that it takes more skill to nearly fall over on skates than to actually fall over, and who doesn’t love a bit of peril at the top of a show?
As always with the sketch format, some scenes connect more than others. This show succeeds when it builds a world which, while unbelievable, has a consistent logic to it. The rollerblading sketches for example, brilliant performances aside, resonate because it’s a recognisable dynamic twisted out of proportion. They’re perfect. Other sketches might dissolve into pathos and hurting children seemingly for want of an ending. That’s putting it quite strongly – I was laughing my arse off – but it’s a trope: saying you’ll hurt children is quick way of scoring a sugary laugh but it doesn’t sustain like something genuinely transgressive.
The heart of this show is charming, and in the exploration of the quick-fixes and self-delusions we all employ to get the through the day, the target is well met. It’s scruffy, energetic, and it’s more hit-than-miss, which means it’s a great use of an hour. Recommended.