Janey Godley & Ashley Storrie's Square Street
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
The uniquely outrageous mother-and-daughter comedy sketch show in which the two stars almost never play mother and daughter. At 13, Ashley Storrie was the Fringe's youngest comic. Now she returns aged 20 with her acclaimed stand-up-playwright-actress-author mum Janey Godley
The tone of this sketch show from possibly the only mother-daughter double act to ever have hit the Fringe is set from the opening seconds, soon after the exaggerated caricature of a mentally challenged girl shuffles moodily on to the stage. 'You big retard,' her exasperated carer icily calls her, to depressingly huge guffaws.
Yes, it's pretty obvious this is comedy unbothered by political correctness. For further evidence consider the cast list of recurring characters: the foul-mouthed gypsy fortune teller, the foul-mouthed novice prostitute, the foul-mouthed grannie, the foul-mouthed Jesus, the foul-mouthed you get the picture.
This is a relentless tide of 'pish', 'fuck', 'big hairy fannies' and worse language you would think you really oughtn't to use in front of your mother, let alone perform alongside her. But when mum is Janey Godley, the former landlady of a tough Glaswegian pub who married into gangsters before turning to stand-up, delicacy is perhaps not an issue.
The script, however, is written by her daughter, Ashley Storrie, and it shows a teenager's unerring faith in swearing, the sick and the gross as a suitable punchline for any sketch. Square Street is perfect for those who found Tittybangbang too sophisticated.
The only saving grace is the abandoned glee with which the pair perform this; they seem to be having so much fun with all the OTT grotesques, joshing and bitching with each other or improvising insults at Gary Le Strange's neighbouring show which is echoing through the Underbelly walls that the energy is infectious.
But with downright offensive lines like 'he's sweating like a blind poof in a sausage factory' or 'Nigeria? D'ye think that's why they call them niggers?' it's tricky to maintain the enthusiasm. That plus the fact that even though each thinly-drawn character who inhabits Square Street is pretty much a one-joke creation, they keep returning and returning to shout out more crude insults where the wit ought to be, to ever-diminishing effect.
Now and again, Storrie does surprise with a good bad-taste gag such as backward Jennifer's Charlie Chaplin impression but it only serves to highlight how much the rest of the show relies almost entirely on yelling and swearing.