Edinburgh Fringe 2019
This is a sketch show firmly rooted in the patios of the West Coast – Glasgow specifically – that does not plumb the depths but it ploughs the rich vein of the humour in observations that really hit home. We get plenty of songs and lots of sketches that give us the clichés of the times and turn them into gems of the present.
The set pieces are tremendous. The team of four have worked this up to a frenzy of fun where they take common phrases in use on the street and create songs and situations round them. We begin with the oft heard maxim, that sounds decent, and then we get into a song about Scottish weather. Character work includes one of them dancing like Crazy Frog on acid in a toilet cubicle and then later, on the dance floor. There’s also the annoying pal who won’t leave, and the problem with a compulsive wee boy who loves crumbing food. The absurd gets covered as we have Gareth’s talking penis, Calum McGilvray the (F)artist, and sheep attacks. Contemporary life, as they have experienced it, finds us listening to the morning after the night of plenty, heavy texting as well as being patched by a woman and the oldies and their phones. That takes us neatly into the hipster song, the Schemie Genie and the Easterhouse news at 6 finishing with the final song – Nae Bother.
Each and every one hits the mark.
Their polished delivery is pitch perfect.
The stand out for the night has to be the songs. They have a harmony that stays in your head and a message that comes from acute observations. It is not a children’s show, so be aware that the subject matter does not hold back. There is plenty of swearing and whilst some may be punctuation, there is plenty of it delivered in a highly effective manner to get the point across. The point being, this is hilarious.
The sketch that I loved most was the annoying pal from school because it showed how skilled this group are in holding the pause, getting the laugh and being the characters from a beautifully observed and crafted scenario. This is a finely observed performance that shows off highly honed abilities in acting, ensemble work and performance; they got the technique.
The physical comedy of the guy in the dance floor is beautifully done but what is even better is that they show it, return to it and have enough confidence in the rest of the material that, though this might be one of my favourites, they know when enough is enough.
There are four distinct characters onstage and we can see the ned, the hipster, the loser, the player. There is a movement of each characterisation between them though it is easy to see which has the strength in each sketch and they keep it on. As a performance piece, an evening of entertainment, they had the audience in the palm of their collective hands; not just the two in the front row who looked old enough tae be a mammy and who hooted at every joke.
They even had the right ending, knowing enough about stage craft to show they had thought about everything. This comes as a package, works as a package and is Christmas Baws wrapped up in a big gorgeous parcel. The title of their piece may be Nae Bother but so much bother has been gone to for this show that you feel we have seen the surface and there will be much more to come.