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The Boom Jennies
Published on Thursday, 26 May 2011

4 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
25-27 May, 7:00pm-7:50pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.

The Boom Jennies deal mainly in a surreal style of comedy. Take an idea – no matter how out-there, plain strange or unlikely – and The Boom Jennies will run with it, performing it with a determined conviction that makes you forget how ludicrous it is. Their finale, which centres around making a sandwich whilst Riverdancing, is a perfect case in point.

And there's clearly no shortage of off-the-wall ideas: a nervous life model, warped wedding photographs and my favourite, a simple piece about Matryoshka dolls.  I loved that one for the way they drew it out, far longer than most sketch groups would have dared, making a throw-away gag into a stand-out. There are jokes about tea and sports and pen pals. And there's some absolutely lovely nervous night-club dancing, which was only the set-up for a sketch but touched me for the way it was so sweetly true.

All three of the cast – Lizzie Bates, Anna Emerson and Catriona Knox – are great performers with a good range, and I noticed some rather nice specialisms in psychotics and dunces too.  But the Boom Jennies do to tend to lean rather heavily on their consummate performing skills. Laughs and (deserved) applause generated from gurning and energetic frugging sometimes felt like a cover for thin material. I love to see a concept strung out so long it feels like it might snap, but here and there it felt as if there wasn't much of an idea underneath the exuberance.

I wonder if a stronger writing team might be what's need to give the act a last big push.  But it's hard to complain, when this show is so joyful and silly – if I have concerns, it papers over them very artfully.  Silly, effervescent fun.

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