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Beard
Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
3

3 stars

Assembly Hall (venue website)
Comedy
2-14, 16-27 Aug, 4:00pm-5:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Beard, a sketch comedy duo, present more of a mixed bag of a show than I’ve seen in a while. Some sketches are totally inspired: the darkly deceptive ‘Cheeky Mum’, and the finale about torch Morse code communication gone wrong. That one even has a proper punchline, something lacking from so much sketch comedy - and a lot of the other sketches in this show.

Because Beard’s hits are matched by and equal number of misses: lots of comedy based around face pulling, for example, and sketches about tired old subjects like video games and Spanish soap operas (the latter a topic that manages to be a cliché despite the fact we don’t really have them in the UK). I’d be happy to never see another sketch on this theme ever again; but if we have to endure them, please, women with Spanish accents hysterically slapping people around the face has already been well covered. By just about everyone, ever.

Beard are engaging though. Rosa Robson and Matilda Wnek are both very watchable and, thought neither has the range of character acting often seen in these types of shows, they keep the energy up with bags of charisma. But the show suffered because, along with lacklustre material, they were fighting with a shockingly laid-out, hot and stuffy room – one that left most of the audience with a restricted view (surely a mere back row of bar stools isn’t an appropriate seating arrangement for a room with a flat stage.)

It’s a testament to Robson and Wnek’s performing skills that they overcame these obstacles to produce a show that kept me engaged, and waiting for another hit from one of their star characters. A few more strong sketches and a better space to show them off could well transform this show.

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

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