Natasia Demetriou

Natasia Demetriou

Former member of sketch comedy troupe Oyster Eyes who performed a solo show at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Her brother Jamie is also a comedian.
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© C4/Screengrab

Ellie & Natasia

TV review by Steve Bennett

Sketch shows might have fallen out of favour with broadcasters, but Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou prove there’s plenty of life in the format yet with this ridiculously bonkers offering.

Despite lasting just 18 minutes, the talented pair show a huge amount of invention,  showcasing a wide variety of comic styles, but always underpinning their skits with distinctively off-kilter sensibilities.

Their oddness is established from the very first scene, when they take the idea of silly walks to preposterous extremes. But many of the scenes lull you in gently.

Middle-class mummy bloggers might be the simplest thing to spoof, for instance, but here it’s the set-up for some deadpan smut and some wonderful characterisation of the emotionally sterile. Demetriou insisting: ‘God, I can't stop laughing’ while completely emotionless is priceless.

Elsewhere, she adopts the same sort of peculiar East European accent that she has in What We Do In The Shadows, for some low-tech internet adverts promoting a nail service. What could be seen as simply mocking a foreign accent is made more endearing by the naivety of the characters.

Other scenes are just outright weird,  like the optician sketch or the esoteric pop-up cactus store(!). But, like the performers behind them, these sketches are strangely charming. And they stay the right side of self-indulgence.

Female relationships are at the core of most of their scenes, understandably given their real-life friendship. Where Morecambe and Wise once shared a bed, when White and Demetriou chat as themselves it’s in the bath.

And while much of their show is just daft or weird there’s sometimes a satirical edge.

Britain’s Smelliest Smell perfectly mimics the fake excitement and cheesy jingles of vacuous daytime TV, while their defining sketch exposes some more uncomfortable Home Truths about the infantilisation of female sexuality. But it’s also a very funny – and slightly disturbing – parody of the likes of Ariane Grande.

The brief scenes evoking the supposedly ‘reggae-loving’ trustafarian teenagers have a touch of Ab Fab’s energy, but White and Demetriou are always their own comedians, with their own peculiar sensibilities, which makes Ellie & Natasha such a succees.

One of the few downsides is that in this era of binge-watching, just one brief episode barely seems enough. It’s an appetiser for a feast that doesn’t exist. Yet.

• Watch on BBC Three’s iPlayer channel here.

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Published: 10 Jun 2019

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