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Women of an Uncertain Age
Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012

2 stars

The Old Courtroom (venue website)
19 May, 3:00pm-3:50pm; 20 May, 7:00pm-7:50pm; 26 May, 5:00pm-5:50pm
Reviewed by Catherine Meek

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

Let’s face it, promising “something truly alternative” is setting yourself up to fail; this is the Brighton Fringe, after all. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only questionable claim made by Flip Webster and Maggie Bourgein, who also bill themselves as doing away with the stereotype of women over 50. No – they laboured the stereotype from start to finish, as though all women of a certain age are just saddos, dressing too young, even tarty, and lusting after boys they might be grandmothers to.

It was doomed from the first: the initial sketch featured the pair sitting discussing boob jobs, liposuction and virtually every other form of re-modelling available these days, like old ladies might be expected to. Later on Webster sported a pair of new boobs which, far from being ridiculous, actually quite suited her. But even so: humour? What humour?

Another sketch featured Bourgein looking cheap in shiny tight black leggings, leopard print high heels, a faux fur jacket and bling. Em, excuse me, I thought this was supposed to be challenging the stereotype.  Later, Webster revealed herself from under a blanket in a care home, listening to an iPod. Again, not exactly cutting edge – and whilst both ladies did a good job of a hip dance routine, still one could only look on and smile politely.

I’m flummoxed as to how the pair think the show responds to their being “fed up with not seeing [them]selves reflected in or catered for in the media”. It’s a shame, because they have clearly put a lot of effort into their work, and they certainly do have some talent – there was nothing wrong with the execution, notwithstanding that some of the pauses between sets were over-long, with the two chairs and table getting moved around a lot.

Sorry to say, there just wasn’t anything that was original or alternative… and as for Webster and Bourgein’s bold claim to be the “probably the funniest female double-act at the Fringe”, well, I’m afraid they’re stretching it a bit.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.