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FringeGuru

 
Helsinki
Published on Friday, 17 August 2012
4

4 stars

Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde (venue website)
Comedy
3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-26 Aug, 2:05pm-3:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 16+ only.

After last year’s mashed-up Shakespeare fun, The Underdogs (Kate Roxburgh and Shae Kuehlmann) return to the Fringe with another inventive, imaginative sketch show. The Underdogs are, of course, afflicted by the same compulsion that affects every modern sketch group – that of making their show mainly about being a sketch group – but this pair do it in a distinctly different and imaginative way. Sketches themselves turn out to be about the process of writing sketches, or about the duo’s own lives as actors. It’s all very clever stuff, featuring multiple callbacks and endless, unravelling layers.

The final sketch – a show-prolonger, rather than a showstopper – features a police interview (a theme that has threaded all the way through the show), where the interrogation gives way to a demand for the sketch they are currently performing to be finished so the show can end. Intriguing and smartly done. And another sketch about a lap dancing class takes an easy laugh-mine, and finds diamonds in the performances and an almost disturbing physicality from Kuehlmann.

Another, skewering Australian soap operas with a surreal twist into particle physics, reaches great heights; but some skits miss. A recurring tale of 1940’s star-crossed lovers has some nice silliness and impressive fast talking, but it’s just not all that funny. Certainly not funny enough to sustain three visits.

Roxburgh and Kuehlmann haven’t been on the UK circuit long, and they are already getting noticed. This show truly is innovative and playful, showing off a solid base of real acting ability and a neat knowledge of how sketches work and can be threaded through each other. With such a refreshingly intelligent take on comedy, there is simply no doubt The Underdogs are going places.

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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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