Edinburgh Fringe 2011
The Boom Jennies are an all-female sketch troupe featuring Lizzie Bates, Anna Emerson and Catriona Knox that are now established regulars at the Edinburgh Fringe. In this fast-paced hour of zany and often silly pieces, they wring every ounce of humour from lost loves, pen pals and chocolate mousse.
Sketch show divas with small, late-night audiences often find it a challenge to generate that all-important sense of zing in the room, but the irrepressible energy of the BJs is enough to fire up even the drowsiest of watchers. There was certainly no-one nodding off after a first gag where two girls were consoling the third, dumped last night by the boyfriend. Let’s say that it just involved finding a creative home for toothpaste spittle which was then unknowingly consumed by the poor soul now bereft of love. Silly? Yes. Obvious? Again, yes. But sometimes simple is best, as it was here.
Sketch shows tend to conform to a pattern and this one was no different. The golden rule is to top and tail the show with the best bits and leave the squidgy bit in the middle to sort itself out. Either the audience will like it, or they won’t, but hopefully some people will get each sketch. To help fill that gap in the middle, the BJs run sketch themes, like a lot of other ensembles. Some of these, like the zany interview series, worked. Others, however, either missed the point or seemed rather pointless.
But the BJs are nothing if not competent performers, skilled at getting the most out of their audience. With one of the BJs being desperate to find a boyfriend at any cost, it presented a great opportunity for them to search for suitable candidates which proved great fun for the party of pension-aged gentlemen sitting in the front row, who thought their prayers were about to be answered. And the BJs are still young enough to be able to pass themselves off as school kids in a disco trying to avoid an embarrassing father as well as play the role of middle-aged mothers so there’s plenty of variety in the material.
With costume changes a plenty and a few old routines involving a lot of food being sprayed around, there was pastiche and slap-stick to go with the surrealist, zany and plain darn silly so the hour passed easily enough. And with a rousing finale involving chocolate mousse and the discovery of true love, they sent the audience out into the rainy Edinburgh night chuckling away.