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Late Night Gimp Fight [2011]

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

OK, they got me. Two years ago, I saw the Gimps’ Fringe debut and really didn’t go for a show that was just too basic, rowdy and crude.

So what happened, have they cleaned up their act? Far from it. This is dirtier than ever, but now there’s such a wonderful audacity to their unwavering commitment to the filth – not to mention production values that are just stunning – which combine to provide a gloriously funny spunkstorm of bad taste. Though if you’re offended by the word ‘spunkstorm’, you should most probably stay away.

Rarely have knob gags been so lovingly presented as in this strongly stylised hour, that nevertheless keeps its eye firmly on the funny. Their Singing In The Rain sketch, for example, performed under UV lights, is stunningly beautiful and inventive, even as it descends into obscenity.

The quintet have the energy that could replace Fukushima, powerfully driving the laughs from their lively boy-band-like version of Lady Gaga's Born This Way that kicks the gig off, to the pensioners’ rap at the end. The musical humour is probably at its peak with the playful bestiality number which crams an impressive number of puns into its running time – although their slick version of the Cell Block Rap from Chicago runs it a close second.

Other sketches cover a Ku Klux Klan meeting, talking toilets and tough redundancy procedures – although a simple list of topics can’t hope to do justice to this wild ride. The team are great, fully committed performers, able to immerse the audience into the conceit of a sketch before the rug-pull, to maximise the effect of the punchline. If you need proof of their powers of emotional manipulation, they can even make you feel sad for a Henry Hoover.

The interstitials that cover the sketch changes, projected on a bank of big-screens as well as various monitors scattered around the venue, are almost as impressive as the skits themselves. The idea is very simple – inserting the word ‘gimp’ into pop videos or the Gimps themselves into classic movie scenes. And the fact the audience knows what’s coming does nothing to dampen the impact.

Some of these videos introduce the men behind the masks, giving them the characteristics Head Gimp, Face Gimp, Jock Gimp, Actor Gimp and Single Gimp to add a bit of personality to the performers. Not that they act in the masks, but instead in the standard-issue black T-shirt and trousers, with a speck of identifying colour.

This slick show, off-the-peg ready for a late-night TV slot, establishes that these Gimps are without a doubt the funniest sexual deviants on the Fringe.

Review date: 12 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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