Two Left Hands: Like rabbits, Etcetera Theatre, London
Monday 10 November 2008
As French and Saunders' act played out its last throes at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, another female sketch duo started a two-week residency at the more modest Etcetera Theatre in Camden. While Charlotte Hudson and Leila Hackett (Two Left Hands) employ a more cerebral approach that has a firmer grasp on the zeitgeist, both suffer from a similar paucity of laughs.
Two Left Hands, who have acting and writing credits that span My Hero, Lead Balloon and Smack The Pony, are perhaps too clever by half. They cover topics on gender, celebrity, corporate identity and social trends, but their observations are thinly drawn at times and their premises return only a slight comic yield.
Their sketch journey begins as the characters Miss Fondant Fancy and Miss Cherry Bakewell, who have taken refuge in 1950s womanhood so as to buck the ladette trend. "We've lost empowerment since feminism," says one; "with Victoria Sponge you can have your cake and eat it," says the other.
With the tone a little too studied and theatrical, some lines that look good on paper give diminishing returns when aired. Nevertheless, the writing is dextrous in parts, for example: "If you don't have God, who will you thank on your album sleeve notes?" says Hudson's Gloria Gaynor-styled character to Hackett's aspiring diva.
Meanwhile, the titular rabbits wander in and out of the proceedings, with their plotline being problems in the bedroom for one of them ("we're not at it, well, like we should be") while the other offers support. It's cute but it is as lean a comedy feast as the lettuce leaves their rabbit personae nibble on.
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