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Toby

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

There is a lot to love about the debut offering from fresh-faced sisters Sarah and Lizzie Daykin, not least their tense relationship and the awkward, distinctive energy it brings to the show.

Sarah is the high-maintenance alpha-sibling, the porcelain-pretty drama queen needily demanding both compliance and attention,  threatening suicide every time she doesn’t get it. Lizzie, meanwhile, is stoical and put-upon as she patiently endures her sister’s petulant mood swings.

The sketches they perform are often an irrelevance, a set-up for either an overwrought argument or a long moment of trepidacious unease as proceedings collapse. But they do show off the pair’s talents as melodramatic over-actors, whether as clipped Forties Cockney shopkeeps, doddery but demanding pensioners or pretentious Shoreditch twats, fashioning art out of menstrual blood.

Not everything quite works, but often enough they’ll raise the bar so sky-high you forgive any mediocrity. Their Stella-swigging football yobs who speak in Shakespearean pentameter are classy and wonderful, Jazz Bear is an eye-wateringly funny piece of visual silliness, and a line that emerges from the scene in which a pig is being violated – yes, really –  is one of the most hilarious on the Fringe, sending up the egos of thespians everywhere.

There’s a real mix of styles here, which comes at the expense of consistency but means the show frequently takes unexpected twists and turns. One minute you get dreadful puns, the next some impressively elegant writing. They are also not afraid to hold a tone of seriousness, making excellent use of Lizzie’s emotive expression of a brave little girl lost. Such confidence is one of many examples of a striking maturity in both script and winningly unaffected performance in this highly assured first show.

Review date: 23 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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