Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Two Men. Two Women. The Ugly Kid is a fast and funny sketch show that simply wants to make you happy. Come and laugh at The Ugly Kid. Just try not to point.
Nominated for a 2008 Chortle award for best sketch, variety or character act.
It’s not often you get to write ‘brilliant sketch comedy’ but on this occasion the cast and writers of Ugly Kid thoroughly deserve it. The sketches are turned over quickly, but it’s not cartoon frenetic. No sketch outstays its welcome, nobody hogs the limelight and everybody brings different strengths to the show.
They don’t go down any tediously obvious paths, subverting a corny set up at the start of the show and turning it into something fresh and original.
The four cast members work well together, they clearly understand each others timing. Susan Calman is by turns saucy and straightlaced. She also makes a fine whippet and a completely believable vulnerable child.
Leah MacRae does a fine line in domineering harridans – from a bullying predatory marriage counsellor to fairytale wicked stepmother and a gorgeous film star. In terms of comic acting, there’s something of a young Patricia Routledge about her presence, quite wonderful.
The men are also marvellous. Clean cut and smiley Greg McHugh works well against type as an aggressive interviewee or a gentle granddad who is not what he seems. Last but not least, Will Andrews is blessed with a gangly body, a great voice and a mobile face which moves between handsome and gormless, and at one point just plain horror film hideous.
There are no irritating catchphrases or callbacks, nobody is cast as the fall guy. The characterisations – children, parents, police, girlfriends, are swift and subtle, without gurning and over playing to establish a point.
Some of the best comedy moments are completely non verbal: watching the growing attracting between Calman and Andrews as ‘You’re just too good to be true’ is played is at once hilarious and touching. There’s not one duff bit in the whole show.
Reviewed by: Julian Chambers