Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Sketch comedy needs a saviour. The genre has been getting something of a bad rap of late, and not without good reason. Thankfully, there are a few groups on the rise to restore faith and respect to the battered hopes of the sketch lover, and the Jennnies are part of that growing front line that have this daring idea that sketch shows should be, well, you know: funny.
There’s a cheerful red balloon waiting for you on your seat as you arrive. It’s a good indicator of the pleasing sense of playfulness that these three very strong performers surround their entire show with.
Often witty, but never afraid to be silly, this is a sharp, fast paced and funny hour. It all feels effortless and gossamer light – an invaluable quality when getting your audience to relax, but not one that will always be the trio’s friend: as much as you might enjoy the show, you could well suffer from post show amnesia as you try to recall the group’s ‘signature’ sketch: currently there is no stand out moment of the evening.
That, of course, doesn’t have to be a bad thing: by the same token, there is no single performer here owning the stage at the expense of her companions.
All three are masters of the double-take, and it’s often funnier to take your eyes of the person talking and watch the kaleidoscope of confused reactions of the other two.
Brevity is the soul of these girls wit – very few sketches seem to last more than a few minutes, one gag being passed to the next with the speed and pace of a relay race (incidentally, the basis of a particularly lovely series of gags), and the whole atmosphere is one of cheerfulness, of silliness mixed with a dry wit, and of excited fun. If that sounds like the very least a comedy show should offer, it’s worth remembering that it’s actually something that’s all too rare in a genre over stuffed with shouty boys telling us how smart they are with slightly dodgy jokes designed to shock.
This, however, is simply smart, effervescent comedy, with nothing to prove. You get the impression that if we don’t hear good things from these girls in the future, somebody at BBC3 isn’t doing their job properly.