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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Flo & Joan : Before the screaming starts

Flo & Joan

Genre: Cabaret, Comedic, Comedy, Feminist Theatre, Fringe Theatre, Stand-Up, Storytelling, Theatre

Venue: Assembly Piccolo


Low Down

Back after their Sell Out run in 2018. Flo & Joan : Before the screaming starts is a funny poignant and clever new show. Running at the Assembly George Square until 25th August at 6pm. In reaction to a Bros documentary the two sisters challenge sibling rivalry through the medium of sarcastic song and blissful banter.


On entering the Piccalo you are greeted with a familiar sight. The award winning Flo & Joan are regulars in Edinburgh and the stark stage with a keyboard, two chairs and a small white egg is enough to start your imagination whirring. Known for their off the wall feminist comedy filled with tongue twisters, shameless honesty and chilling tales from their personal lives. What could be coming? What will fill the next hour? And what on earth is underneath that sheet? A black shiny sheet covers a spiky mass to stage left. This is something new. Will their ruin their already winning formula? We shall see. 

The sisters enter in the usual manner, deadpan faces casually take in their Sold Out house as they begin. This is the standard fare. We know what we’re in for and it’s going to be good. Lips start to curl on stage as the playing falters slightly. It’s unusual but we forgive them and then suddenly they apologise, stop the show and ask to start again. I have flashbacks to primary school music exams where young wills crumbled under the pressure of performance. We begin again. But this time we have all the bells and whistles, it’s loud, it’s exciting and we get to find out what’s under the sheet! They’ve tricked us and it’s a real treat.  

This show is a tour de force of pointed hilarity. Everything they speak or sing about has feminist roots making us laugh at ourselves and at the patriarchy. Allowing us through humour to gain power within ourselves. ‘Before the screaming starts’ is based upon the Bros documentary about a 90’s pop duo of brothers finding fame and their close proximity to each other very challenging.

They muse, stoney-faced, about whether this is a wedge that will eventually drive them apart. They row, as sisters do, onstage but we’re not convinced. They compliment each other with the beauty of difference telling tales of undelivered parcels with trolls at every turn, life experiences embellished and made magic with an uplifting female focused outcome. It’s engaging, funny and so terribly relevant.

If you’ve seen Flo and Joan before they’ve upped the ante and expect to have your socks thoroughly knocked off. If you haven’t seen them it’s probably because you haven’t managed to buy a ticket as they’re constantly sold out. You will leave smiling, empowered and humming tunes that will be stuck in your head for the next year – until you can see their next show.