Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Kit and The Widow hit the bulls eye with this year’s collection of banter and ballads in a hilarious hour of entertainment.
Elegant Stockbridge, centre of Edinburgh’s New Town, is bathed in evening sunlight. What a perfect setting then for an evening of banter (nay, badinage), mirth and music with Kit and The Widow that celebrated, cerebral lounge act.
And if ever an audience mirrored its performers, this was it. Judging by the garishly coloured trousers, quixotic headgear and rounded vowels (and that was just the men), this was just the segment of the socio-economic strata that Kit and The Widow’s staple of witty repartee and satirical song-writing is aimed at.
True to form, their first number hit the bulls eye – an adaptation of Iolanthe focusing on the new Coalition Government, always a winner with the chattering classes. And their aim remained true with pieces on public schools, the Bullingdon Club and which political party offered the best in terms of sex lives, the latter giving a whole new meaning to the term “Hung Parliament”. More of the same follows on contemporary politics, an entertaining rant against Donald Trump’s plans to concrete parts of the Aberdeenshire coastline and a plea to anglicise Andy Murray.
Trading on satire, parody, double entendre, a hint of campness and extremely clever word play, they are masters of setting what is essentially good conversation and storytelling to music with The Widow (Richard Sisson) providing the accompaniment to Kit’s (Kit Hesketh-Harvey) rounded baritone vocals to which he adds a range of interesting characterisations and, at times, caricatures.
They’ve been together now for 30 years so it’s hardly surprising that they sound and act like many of the devoted married couples that are the backbone of their audience. They finish each other’s sentences and the patter cascades and flows, appearing quite spontaneous but no doubt having been meticulously scripted. They are masters of comic timing as well – the pauses they insert are all perfectly rehearsed and allow the audience to feel they are part of the performance
The result is a compelling hour of entertainment from two very clever entertainers who are now rightly recognised as doyens of the Fringe. As a double act they compare themselves to Tom Lehrer, Victor Borge, Fascinating Aida and Flanders and Swann, amongst others. I wouldn’t. They’re better than the whole of that lot put together.