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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Twisted Loaf Present Stale Mate

Twisted Loaf

Genre: Clown, Comedy, Fringe Theatre

Venue: Just the Tonic


Low Down

A year on, none the wiser. Or are they? Twisted Loaf hurl themselves on the stage. Nina is ripe, perhaps too ripe, even for superstar cabaret sensation Libby. Another hilarious hour of overblown ambition and extreme attitude from two of the daftest comedy loafers around.


Libby and Nina explode onto the stage as their core personas. Nina, the tiny and haphazard clown leads on the temperamental Libby with a leash and plenty of cocaine. There is a lot of staring, snorting and shrugging. The show starts as it intends to go on, absolutely filthy.

After the clown and the cabaret superstar navigate how is best to begin the show we are taken on a journey of various different characters. The show moves chaotically from one sketch to the other, merging ladies who lunch with raunchy care workers and business LADS. The performers expertly flit from one absurd character to a another whilst still managing to execute even the tiniest characteristic. The scenes collide together and repeat themselves growing more and more chaotic. The magic of  Stale Mate  is that it isn’t afraid of using typical scenarios that sketch comedy seems to gravitate to, however instead of giving you a typical job interview scene they will give it to you torn apart with blood, nudity and endless laughter.

Although their sketches are funny, the highlight for me within the show is the moments in which they return to their original personas and you learn  more about their fraught relationship and the mania of their lives. A particular highlight is when they are both trying to dominate the spotlight to sing a song which is attempted throughout the show. They have managed to cleverly craft core characters that are at the same time achingly real and totally impossible.

Nina and Libby skilfully use the audience and transport them into their effortlessly crafted alternative universe. There is a sense of tension within the audience as these women are not afraid to call you up for whatever task the may need you for. Although audience interaction can cause even the most seasoned theatre goer a cold chill, the exposure you feel as a viewer adds to the overall experience and it makes you feel more actively engaged. This is especially refreshing when you are seeing multiple shows a day and it gives you a wake up call to not to just passively watch, even those at the back!

The work that Twisted Loaf create within the genre of character comedy is outstanding. For the countless variety comedies in the fringe it takes a lot for a show to stand out and  Twisted Loaf does. If you have a fancy for a surreal and absurd twist to your comedy, these women are the ones to watch.