Edinburgh 2013 review: Birthday Girls: 2053, Pleasance Courtyard


Sketch realignment is a feature of this year's Fringe with various groups combining or downsizing, splintering off into solo ventures and so forth. The scene has never been so varied and there is something for even the most sceptical observer of the genre.

All-girl troupe Lady Garden are one example of this restructuring, having now metamorphosed into Birthday Girls, a three piece comprising of Beattie Edmondson (daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson), Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan.

The vivacious threesome's debut show has them as outlawed sketch performers in a dystopian 2053 where pretty much everything is banned, especially comedy. They fire skits, rather than shots, over the bow of the regime, a spacious premise reminiscent of all-male sketch troupe Pappy's - perhaps inevitable given Pappy's member Tom Parry's involvement as director.

Loopy and loveable is what the kooky Edmondson, the neurotic Johnson and feisty Ucan are looking for, but the result is a stock of quick-fire sketches that don't always ignite. Slightly too few recurring sketches is one problem, while some of the ones that are on offer flail, especially their hapless dating consultant whose lame suggestions are too weak even for comic gain.

While some ideas clearly have potential for the small screen as well as the stage, many of the the gags are not thought-through to a clean payoff and certainly don't threaten to shake up the system.

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