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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Shirley & Shirley: The Shirley & Shirley Show

Shirley & Shirley

Venue: Underbelly


Low Down

This is high quality comedy. The sketches range from surreal comic mime to cultural and ethnic characterizations, and are separated cleverly by audio introductions as the girls get into their elaborate costumes. Each sketch is strongly defined and although some of them could be construed as borderline bad taste, they are cleverly realised and all strong as individual pieces of theatre.


Pascale Wilson and Joanna Carolan’s style is loud, brash and full of energy. They open with two girls from Peckham at the job centre; in another sketch Wilson plays a traditionally dressed Nigerian woman being nosy on a bus. It is very well observed and acted, and if there were any real Africans in the audience, you would hope they would be able to laugh at themselves. The girls also parody Bollywood, the French and English Upper class girls.

Although this kind of cultural and ethnic stereotype comedy has been done numerous times on stage and screen before, they do it very well. The scenarios are well written and original and better than similar ones I have seen on television, partly maybe because they would better on stage and would have to tone down some of their material on TV in the evening time bracket.

Naturally not every scene is as funny as the last. But like all comedy, it is down to personal taste and my personal favourite is a little vaudeville act on its own as two ballet dancers squabble over food.

Although not everyone was, I was laughing all the way through. But even if you don’t find it all funny, it makes for very entertaining viewing and deserves to be sold out.