Edinburgh Fringe 2015
A cheerful, silly, sometimes crude hour with three smart and funny performers. Check your allergies at the door: this show has claws ..
It’s a brave bunch of sketch comedy performers that open with a joke referencing a children’s show from the fifties, but the Kitten Killers do so with verve and start their hour with a gag that’s pretty indicative of what is to follow: archly clever at the same time as being damn silly.
A fair amount of sketch groups on the circuit divide up the labour fairly clearly: generally, there’s the bossy-leader type one, the sexy one, the dumb one, the gross one, and so on. However, with the Kittens, there is no such division. This is not to the group’s detriment: The Killers are an equal opportunities gang; with everyone in the group as able as the other to attack any kind of joke. Those jokes mainly deal in shock or a ‘switch and reveal’, so there’s no value in listing the best moments here – it’s best to go in blind. Suffice to say that there’s some sharp humour to be mined from George Osborne’s (lack of ) interest in certain taxes, the problems inherent in letting certain men loose on social media, and an annoyingly catchy Disney song (not that one).
Quite often, an Edinburgh sketch hour can seem somewhat – forgive the pun – sketchy, and this is largely to do with certain jokes starting well and fading out, or there being a surprising lack of energy in the room. None of these bones of contention stick in your throat as you watch the Kittens. It’s a pacy, confident hour with no pussy-footing around. Yes, we can argue about just how many cunnilingus jokes a single hour can cope with, but frankly, that’s down to personal taste. As it were. What is true is that the Kitten Killers bullet their way through a helter-skelter hour, throwing joke after joke behind them like – well, like cats in burlap sacks. There’s a great (and well-earned) use of props and costumes as well, never to paper over a weak gag, but to heighten some beautifully silly jokes, occasionally laced with a vein of tragedy or injustice. You get the impression that the group will eventually want to dig deeper into the litter tray for even richer material, but for now, they are joyous with their clowning attitudes.
The mid-afternoon slot admittedly doesn’t do them justice: the jokes and their onstage personas seem more suited to a late night bawdy burlesque atmosphere, but what that does mean is the room is filled with a fearsome, relentless energy, every sketch slamming into the next that leaves no mercy for any audience member. Be warned: the Kitten Killers ain’t letting you get out alive.