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Four Screws Loose in #screwtheworld
Published on Thursday, 30 August 2012
4

4 stars

Assembly George Square (venue website)
Comedy
2-10, 12-27 Aug, 3:20pm-4:20pm
Reviewed by Anne Stirling

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Their opening number reveals everything you need to know about the Four Screws Loose boys: they are enthusiastic, they pull silly faces, their humour is pointed at identifiable memes, they physically interact with their audience, they can sing, and they are unafraid of wearing unflattering costumes.

In a parody of that unavoidable facet of the Fringe that we all love to loathe - flyering - the boys stalk into the Bosco tent in the Assembly garden wielding flyers for "my friend's show about Lorraine Kelly" (among others), hilariously honing in on the ridiculous tactics performers use to entice crowds to their shows. The show trundles on, encompassing sketches about blockbuster films, sex ed classes and boy bands. Along the way they exhibit great comic timing, commitment to silliness, and an overall sense of fun.

Some sketches were stronger than others. The Super Mario Brothers material felt obvious and unoriginal, save for a tongue-tastic portrayal of Yoshi. Conversely, the best sketch came early in the show: an abridged version of Titanic ("sponsored by iTunes") for those who had missed this year's 3D cinema re-release. Their use of spliced-together popular music, choice scenes from the film, props and cross-dressing made for a very funny five minute recap.

I was a little perturbed by the bell-ringing beanie-clad couple who appeared in recurring sketches, revealing that the troupe's name is apt - there are definitely some screws loose when it comes to what their brains conjure up. That said, their full immersion into the characters made it work, in spite of the disturbing nature of the sketches. Their audience interaction was well-received, too, getting all of us involved in the sex ed class led by a saggy-bosomed senior and her sexually rampant sister.

So I felt the show was strong as a whole, and very funny. But like a bagel, there was a gaping hole in the middle. A parody of the film The Artist led to two female audience members having their faces painted as dogs, and subsequently being paraded against each other in a dog show. They should have filled that hole with bagel-y deliciousness; instead it was left open for empty misogyny to run riot. It was the only downside to an otherwise slick show.

Going back to those flyers, I recall being handed one by one of the cast as I was sitting in the Assembly garden, with a promise that the show is "better than a turd". And it certainly was.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

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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