Brighton Fringe 2010
Venue: Upstairs at Three and Ten
Six young women burst onto the stage with a terrific ‘Girls on Tour’ opening number that gets the audience warmed up and demonstrates the strength of Lady Garden’s ensemble presentation. Throughout the show, sketches vary between the whole group’s six-hander pieces and four, three and quirky two-handers, with a couple of strong musical numbers along the way. Presentation is snappy, professional and confident. The sketches are broadly satirical with some very funny excursions into finely tuned character-based sketches.
There is some excellent comedic talent in this group, both in writing and performance. They commanded the stage and grabbed hold of the audience from the start and their final musical number at the ‘funeral’ ended the show on a good strong note. The audience was with them all the way.
Live sketch-based comedy is a difficult act to pull off when we are so used to seeing sketches on tv, using a full range of tv editing techniques. In a live show, sketches usually depend on a strong, laugh out loud ending. Sometimes Lady Garden got this right, but sometimes it felt as if the laugh came earlier than the ending, and some sharper editing might help.
Comedy is very subjective, but some sketches that stood out for me were the role-play sketch, where the characters were sharply defined and utterly convincing, and the police interview that seemed to embody a potential for quirky character-based performance that I’d love to see Lady Garden develop further. It was truly original and very funny to watch. Britain’s Next Top Monarch was a strong concept that was also funny visually, as was the pole dancing sketch, though both suffered from slightly weak endings. Personally I’d like to see a little less reliance on tv parody, though I liked the second Secret Millionaire sketch very much.
The supermarket tannoy announcements were sharp, funny and well observed. I could have watched more of these.
The very strong central performance in the stripper sketch carried the sketch on its own, but when it morphed into Bingo calling it was funny again, showing that this group can develop beyond single-concept snappy sketches.
Lady Garden is undoubtedly talented and going places. Their Out of Work Comedians charity sketch was funny and well choreographed, though I think it was a mistake to put it so early in the show, as it was quite self-referential and could alienate audience members who’ve come on board with the opening number.
The easy confidence of this group on stage belies all the hard work and discipline necessary to achieve such a professional performance. Go and see them with your mates – you’ll have a good night out.