Edinburgh Fringe 2017
A trio of six nationalities (work that one out) present some inventive, hilarious and very engaging sketches in this absurdist cabaret offering.
Laughing Horse has a number of very conveniently located venues this year, no more so than The Newsroom just at the top of Leith Street. True, it looks a bit like a building site outside with all the reconstruction going on at the St James’ Centre, but that’s all left behind as you descend to the basement theatre with its tight stage and intimate setting.
It’s a venue well suited to the offering from Lobster Quadrille, a trio of six nationalities (no, that’s not an oxymoron, as there’s a Swiss/Mexican, a French/Croatian and an Indian/English) who presented Carabet, an intriguing, well-scripted and largely absurdist cabaret sketch show.
The seemingly sensible opening conversation between Paulina Lenoir and Firdaws Fourcroy covers the usual pleasantries you might expect two friends to engage in but soon descends into a very amusing cat-fight as they each criticise the other’s physical and mental attributes. No more plot spoilers, but it gets the audience laughing, always important at the start of any comedic sketch show.
The laughter continues during the next sketch where Alasdair Saksena is alone and desperately trying to get served in a restaurant. Having been there myself quite often, in several countries, it’s easy to identify with the increasingly desperate measures Saksena employs in order to try and order sustenance. But I’ve never ended up getting what he got once he’d finally caught the eye of the French waitress. Intriguing.
This show contained a good mix of sketches along the lines of the couple I’ve described. It also had some amusing running gags, one involving a suitcase and another featuring monologues describing a daughter’s walks in the park with her mother. And what they did with an apple, a dancer, a hat and the song “Where Did You Get To My Lovely” was hilarious, clever yet simple.
Supported throughout by excellent backing sound tracks and some virtuoso guitar playing and singing from Saksena (a resonant baritone who also displayed an excellent falsetto upper range) this was an excellent forty-five minutes of absurdist sketch comedy. Costumes changes were many and varied, props ranged from the simple to the extremely intricate and the actors formed each character with care and precision, employing a wide range of accents (hardly surprising given their backgrounds) and great facial expression. Well aware of the value of silence, they each had a well-developed sense of comic timing.
It’s a show that has a lot to recommend it, demonstrating once again the depth of talent playing in this year’s free Fringe. Well worth a visit.