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ED FRINGE REVIEW Birthday Girls, Party Vibes


Birthday Girls (formerly known as The Lady Garden) are a female comedy trio made up of Beattie Edmondson, Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan. Collectively, individually and existentially they have been seen or heard on the likes of Live At The Electric (BBC Three), Absolutely Fabulous (BBC One), Dick & Dom’s Funny Business (BBC Two) and Sketchorama (BBC Radio 4).

Directed by Tom Parry (Pappy's, Badults), Party Vibes returns to the Fringe for one week only with their sold out 2014 show. It's a comedy party of odd characters, offbeat sketches and try-hard dancing.

Spending the early hours of the morning upstairs in a very hot room at the Pleasance might sound like torture, but with a performance as vibrant, full of energy and hilarious as Party Vibes, I could have have stayed up there well past the hour.

From the moment you walk in the girls are already on stage busting their best dance moves to Beyoncé's Drunk In Love and cheering people coming in with drinks.

Sketch shows have recently proved difficult to get right on TV, and before last night I wouldn't have expected a live show to be much better. How wrong could I be?

The show ran at such a pace that no sketch was a bad sketch, and even if there was (there wasn't), before you had time to sit and moan to yourself about it, they were onto the next one. It really is rare for every sketch in a sketch show to strike a chord, that's the beauty of a sketch show, you can just move on, but somehow these three girls managed it, and managed it in style.

The three girls are all unique in their own way, and don't try to copy any other comedians that I'm aware of. Clemmie is the more playful one, Beattie (daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Ade Edmondson) the more sensible one and Rose the more serious one (I'm sure the girls will hate me for saying that), but together they create some magic that I haven't seen in a comedy ensemble in a very long time. They're natural, current and above all funny. VERY funny. I basically want to be their friend by the end of it.

The show was well rehearsed, that was clear by the excellent timing both with dialogue and physically. The moments where the characters spoke in unison were timed to perfection and Camille's constant urge to crowd surf the audience was stopped in perfect time every time, except at the very end after the show, when they let Camille get her wish and she did indeed crowd surf the 3 rows deep crowd!

Common practice for most sketch shows are gimmicks, such as funny set design, costumes or props, and none of this was evident in Party Vibes, (apart from a shit in a bag), and quite rightly so. The simplicity of the stage and what the girls were wearing allowed the audience to really engage with the brilliantly written and very well observed material.

What's that? You want to know why there was a shit in a bag? OK, well there was this brilliant sketch called The Great British Shit Off (I think you know where this is going) where each week the participants much produce the perfect shit according to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood's standards. Things got a little, shall we say #Awks, when Camille pulled out a blue carrier bag with a real shit in it, and to make matters #MoreAwks, she later wrapped it up and an unsuspecting member of the audience won it as part of a game of Pass the Parcel.

I should point out that to my knowledge there was no actual shit in a bag, it's called acting.

The show isn't just sketches though, in between a couple of the sketches were short dance routines, that's right, the girls are funny AND they can dance.

Now I have to talk about the elephant in the room, or rather the annoying gentlemen sat in the front row, who the trio know by name (I won't name him), who laughed throughout the performance. I'm sure you're thinking, "Isn't that what you're supposed to do at a comedy show?"

Yes, of course you are, but the way this guy was laughing was rather different to the usual laugh, he was being disruptive and at times, put the girls off their sketches, forcing them to shout at the guy (in a way that suited the sketch, obviously) telling him to stop. He didn't.

However, the professionalism of the three girls and the quality of their material meant that this didn't ruin my experience of what was a truly superb Fringe show and one that I would recommend to absolutely everybody. I might even go and watch it again myself.

So at just £5 a ticket, this show is an absolute steal. There is a bucket at the end for the audience to drop in what they think the show is worth. This is something I did, and judging by the amount of money that was in there, so did a lot of people. The truth is that the show deserved to be priced between £10-£15, the average price for a top Fringe show. So if you come back next year girls (and you should), you can totally justify asking for more upfront.

With my telly head on, I wouldn’t be surprised if these three will be fronting their own TV show in the not too distant future. If any TV types are reading this, and looking for the next female comedians of tomorrow, I'm pretty certain I've just found them. But please god let them write the material themselves!

Birthday Girls: Party Vibes runs in Edinburgh until Sunday 30th August and the trio will be performing at Bestival on Sunday 13th September


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