Edinburgh Fringe 2012
A couple of dirty words for you, the type that you never mention in polite company, and certainly not in comedy circles, for fear of being cast aside as something dull and grey. The words are ‘likeable’ and ‘nice’. We try to avoid them as descriptive terms, since they suggest boring and not sexy. Blowing those conceptions out of the water are the Boom Jennies, who are likeable, nice, – and very, very funny. In fact, you’ll have a tough time finding a hit rate of more laughs per minute in a show this month.
While the material is great, it’s sheer force of personality that will win you over – they’ve got great chemistry with each other, and the crowd, and it’s likely that each audience will go away thinking they’ve found their new best friends. It’s true that they bribe us with sweets beforehand, but the entire hour feels like it’s jacked up on high grade Haribo.
It would be misleading to state that there’s a great deal of physical comedy, but they all use physicality very well: a sketch featuring yummy mummies on the school run elicits honks of delighted recognition without so much as a costume change. Or, indeed, a single word spoken. There’s a plethora of great sketches, from the vaguely topical (addressing the issue that ‘that’ book that we’ve all seen, because it’s been read on surprisingly few kindles this year) to a very good joke involving passive-aggressive flatmates.
There’s a whisper of some familiar sketches for returning audiences, but most of this show is brand new, beam-making stuff, all delivered by great onstage personalities – all very likeable and engaging, and it’s tempting to think of them as extensions of the girls themselves. While different, all of them give a wide-eyed, open mouthed breathlessness of being young women slightly out of their depth and not quite cool enough to hang with the rest of the crowd – although, nominally, Catriona Knox gives the impression of being marginally more arch and Head Girl, while both the others – Lizzie Bates and Anna Emerson – deliver the naughty glee of those finally allowed to stay up smoking and swearing with the big girls.
It’s a rare and precious group that mix smart and silly, but the BJs deliver in spades. ‘Mischief’ is an excellent name for this cute and infectious show. It’s possible that you might try not liking the Jennies. But frankly, we don’t see why you’d rob yourself of such joy. It’s a foregone conclusion that a sketch group should make you laugh – thanks to the Jennies, you’re sent out genuinely happy.