Ruth Bratt first came to prominence when she was runner up in the Funny Women stand-up competition in 2005. As well as stand-up she also performs as part of the Scratch Impro team. She has also appeared in the BBC Three shows Touch Me I'm Karen Taylor and Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive, and was a regular panellist on Channel 4's FAQ U
Trodd en Bratt: Fringe 2012
Lucy Trodd and Ruth Bratt have a nice dynamic alternating between what are clearly The Sketches and interludes where they play heightened versions of themselves.
There the joke is that Bratt comes from the comedy circuit and Trodd from the ‘serious circuit’. In real life, both are members of the Showstoppers improvised musical show – while Bratt has nearly a decade’s experience in improv, stand-up and sketch, and Trodd learned at the feet of theatrical/improv svengali Ken Campbell.
Together they have a fine line in absurd characters which are stupidly over-the-top, even if they sometimes have a tendency to outstay their welcome – while appearing as ‘themselves’ makes a strong connection with the audience. They are clearly friends enjoying performing together, and that’s an attractive prospect when combined with talent.
There’s a looseness to their performance: occasionally they make each other laugh, suggesting they are not slaves to a script, no surprise given their improv pedigree.
As ‘themselves’ there’s some nice juxtaposition between Bratt’s casual comedy-circuit approach and Trodd’s theatrical training. While the actress warms up with elaborate vocal and physical exercises, the comedian takes a slug of beer and just gets on with it…
We start with a Southern American woman, in vivid blue velour tracksuit top, trying to marry off her peculiarly dim-witted daughter. Trodd plays the fool delightfully, and Bratt puts a flick of desperate sadness that makes the scene satisfying as well as silly. Other hits include a couple of lads out on a stag night, touchingly rather pathetic in their attempts to create in-jokes rather than being the full-on lads you might expect.
There’s a very odd, but strangely funny, scene involving a chicken that would be worthy of Vic and Bob, while a couple of loud Jewish-American matriarchs – similar to Ronna & Beverley – were great fun for a while, but their shaggy-dog joke really tested the patience of the audience. It’s not the only example of a sketch going on too long, and some tightening of the scripts, while not restricting the freedom of performance, would make a very good sketch show into an excellent one. This is a double-act to watch.