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Late Night Gimp Fight [2013]

Late Night Gimp Fight [2013]

Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2013

You could argue by now it’s demeaning for five men approaching their thirties to be donning gimp masks, prancing round in thongs and making knob gags. You’d be right. Despite that they’re back and this year they mean business.

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Late Night Gimp Fight [2013]

After five years as one of the Fringe’s top billing shows, it seems very odd that the gimps are still here while other, newer sketch troupes have been whisked off to the telly limelight. There’s absolutely no denying that they’re an extremely talented bunch, so the fact they’ve been left behind like a bunch of unicorns who missed the memo about Noah’s Ark is a bit of a mystery.

Maybe it’s the show’s title: if they’d given it a more innocuous name and cleaned up their act slightly they’d probably have their own BBC Three sitcom by now.

However, what would LNGF be without the gimps (a.k.a. Paul, Richard, David, Lee and Matt) gyrating their pelvises in silly videos that act as entertaining filler during the show’s many costume changes? The gimps- and the associated naughty, edgy, scatological edge they lend the 10pm show - are the troupe’s unique selling point, without them they’d be yet another group of five boys doing silly things for money. A bit like One Direction.

The fact they’ve been coming to the Fringe for so long isn’t lost on the group, in fact they regularly refer to the fact they’re ‘getting a bit old for this sort of thing’. When ‘this sort of thing’ includes getting your balls out while dressed as Spiderman or forcing down a McDonald’s Happy Meal every night on stage a month before your wedding - you can start to see their point.

But at least these sacrifices on the altar of our entertainment don’t go to waste. The whole show has an irreverent, riotous, debauched air that - despite its veteran status - means it’s still one of the best hours of comedy you’re likely to witness at the Fringe. It’s also very clever. Highlights include some spectacular and rousing musical numbers – including a finale that rivals any of the big song and dance epics at the International Festival. There was also an extremely creative audience participation section featuring Nerf guns that- though it could have gone painfully wrong for the gimps- definitely paid off.

The cameo appearance by up-and-coming sketch troupe Four Screws Loose is also strangely pleasing as it feels a bit like the Gimps are handing over the baton to the next generation. Will they be back for a sixth year at the Fringe? Who knows, but if not, this was a fantastic swan song.

Friday 23rd Aug, '13
Hilary Wardle

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