Laser Kiwi: Rise Of The Olive | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Laser Kiwi: Rise Of The Olive

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

New Zealanders Laser Kiwi are a fun mash-up of genres, describing themselves as a surreal sketch comedy circus troupe. However, by Fringe standards, they’re not THAT off-the-wall, with skits that are quirky and well-rehearsed rather than the high-intensity, unhinged madness of the festival’s biggest oddballs.

But this trio have a lot of charm, and their running gags about the titular olives improve as the show progresses towards its silly finale. Plus, their skill sets offer what few sketch groups can. Sinewy Imogen Stone has an aerial rope act of breathtaking daring, Zane Jarvie has formidable juggling talents and his brother Degge is the modern-day clown. 

It’s explained this is a selection of skits and stunts that haven’t fitted into their other shows, so it will inevitably be bitty, and probably not make much sense.

Amusingly, we are not only handed a running order on the way in, but each of the 24 scenes is given a mark out of ten to show how funny they think each one is. With typical Kiwi modesty, there are a few ones and twos, and the odd ten too. It’s probably an accurate representation.

The comedy sketches are clever and slick, but it takes a while for the trio’s low-key playfulness takes time to work its magic. Skits feature the likes of a performing ant, a wonky recreation of 3D films for which glasses are provided on the door, rap and Jenga blocks.

One of the funniest scenes has Zane attempt to flick an olive into the martini glass precariously balanced on a stick on his forehead. It takes him quite a few goes – Tim Vine’s ‘pen behind the ear’ stunt comes to mind – while Degge hilariously teases and cajoles him about his failures in the way only siblings can. 

Such a loose interaction, making the most of their genuine chemistry, is what some other scenes miss while still deploying their physical skills to good effect. The slickness also extends to the production values, with the trio and the team making good use of the cavernous disused church that is Assembly Roxy.

And when the running gag of Degge leaping gleefully around the stage dressed as an olive reaches its glorious, uplifting and rather sweet climax, the peculiar theme finally makes so much sense. Surprisingly.

Review date: 20 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly Roxy

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