Kooky Babooshka at the Manchester Comedy Festival

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The four confident and effervescent young performers who comprise Kooky Babooska walk the fine line between being a brash, over-the-top sketch troupe and coming across as shrill and overdramatic.

Their tendency is to deliver everything at maximum energy and volume, which works when the underlying material is inventively daft enough to match, but sometimes comes across as the worst sort of stage-school mugging. It is, dare I employ the perennial sketch cliché, a bit hit and miss.

Less successful scenes include those mining familiar stereotypes, even playfully, such as the businesswoman disgusted by the idea of a Northerner in a sub-Harry & Paul way; while their swapping of the lyrics to Poker Face to the contrived ‘Trojan Mace’, though executed with typical enthusiasm, can’t step over the clunky idea at its heart.

But, paradoxically, their Byker Grove sketch, which starts in a similarly unconvincing way, *is* carried by their determined performance into something more fun. Ditto the fast food joint run by the BNP and the none-too-subtle innuendo of their acne cream ad; while their anti-obesity announcement is played more straight, to the extent it could almost be a genuine public service message.

However, just as you become attuned to their extravagant, all-singing, all-dancing performances and surreal sensbilities, the show is over. Just half an hour has elapsed, which barely seems worthy of the name ‘show’.

Nonetheless, it’s long enough to prove that this quartet have some inventive talent to match their irrepressible energy… even if it’s not yet tightly enough focussed to be consistently strong.

Review date: 25 Oct 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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