Like any sketch show there is often a sense that the evening may play out something like lucky dip. Some characters or stories are topical, current and therefore very funny. Others just don’t hit the mark, they may fly over an audience’s head, or simply not be very amusing.
Shirley and Shirley, two 22 going on 32 year olds (something we are often reminded of), are performers that work very well with their audience. They are relaxed and confident. A comedian’s nervousness is so often palpable if present and can really change the tone of their set. From the moment we enter the room, Shirley 1 (we shall say) greets the audience and makes us feel somewhat like her friends rather than like her audience.
When some inevitable audience participation gets underway, the unlucky men chosen to head onto stage may not feel so unlucky after all. Yes, the games they play are dirty and crude, but they’re never horrible and we are left laughing together as an audience – and not simply at these men for making fools of themselves. As comics, Shirley and Shirley see their duty as making an audience laugh through creativity, and not just by insulting people. When such creativity is absent, it often results in a weaker overall production.
Although the sketches in this piece are quite varied there are enough great ones (such as the Gay Mario Brothers Italian TV hosts), to shade the quieter ones into obscurity. The posh girl motif runs throughout the show and it is simply very amusing in each of its incarnations.
The show is cheap and short, the venue is small and the overall production is great. It is a very worthwhile comedy to head to one evening of this year’s fringe.