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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Dark humour and showstopping numbers.
I have to admit my heart sank at the start of Checkley Bush, as the first scene involved two over-the-top ‘Lanarkshire lezzas’ doing little more than belting out Sapphic euphemisms in a screeching Scottish accent.
The audience seemed to like them, judging from the squeals of delight – although the slick introductory film gathered the same heightened response, as if two women in wigs was the funniest thing they’d ever seen. It’s possible they were friends of performers Laura Checkley and Victoria Bush, since this particular gig was being filmed for posterity, which might explain a lot.
But once the show, and the crowd, settled down, the sketches found their style. Boisterous they may be – coarse even – but with a keen eye for the joyfully surreal and delivered with such energising oomph they bring to mind the ridiculous filmed scenes that punctuate Vic & Bob’s Shooting Stars.
That comparison is never stronger than the version of Embarrassing Bodies (or Cringeworthy Carcasses as it is alliteratively retitled here) featuring a woman with a giant hand and boozy host Denise Welch. The pair do so enjoy impersonations, even though they are terrible at them, making the vigour with which they throw themselves into them all the funnier.
Checkley Bush – the name of a fictional town as well as a conflation of their surnames – is a world in which Cher shares a flat with Liza Minnelli, drama queens both, where two lambada champions bicker aggressively on the dancefloor to bring passion to their dance, and where a celebrity psychic tries to summon the sprit of Jade Goody.
Some scenes fall short; the twins who talk in text slang, all OMG! and LOL, are comic archetypes that are already too familiar, while at other times they pile it on a bit thick: their poster-girl character is a pair of conjoined twins. Who are also from Eastern Europe. Who are also porn stars. Who also sing. Enough quirks, already!
But the pair of newcomers have an exuberance that sees them through thick and thin, and strong sense of the absurd that makes the best moments really shine. This might have been a bumpy first ride though Checkley Bush, but it’s a scenic route, and hopefully the scattered potholes of disappointment will be filled in by the next visit.
|Date of live review: Sunday 29th Aug, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
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