Girls UninterruptedSuzy Freeman writes …

Louise Joy McCrae and Nicolette Minster have undoubtedly built up a bit of a profile on the comedy circuit over the past few years, and these girls definitely have some showbiz credibility, bouncing off each other on stage and handling technical hitches like pros. Both trained actors, the pair are adept at transforming themselves with the help of some shonky props, from Honey Boo Boo to bearded suburban bogan and everything in between. We, the punters, were occasionally left feeling like a bunch of peeping Toms, observing a couple of uni friends cavorting around a dorm room and finding each other utterly hilarious all the while.

First thing’s first: I’ll admit that, despite the hype, I wasn’t expecting much. I’m not a great fan of sketch comedy, perhaps scarred from excessive childhood exposure to Monty Python. I’ll also say straight-up that I was pleasantly surprised, and that I definitely laughed out loud several times during the show. I mean, who doesn’t love having lollies thrown violently at their face? It’s always hilarious.

The show kicked off with a sketch featuring the last two remaining contenders in an X Factor-style backing singer contest, and the ensuing rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect was original, clever and beautifully awkward. Minster’s later depiction of ‘Helen’, a booty shaking, super bubbly daytime talk show host was hilarious and slightly unnerving in its familiarity (anyone who is unemployed or ‘works’ from home will know what I’m talking about).

Drawing on the often-exploited worlds of beauty pageant child stars, Melbourne hipsters and bogans from the outer suburbs, the pair moved quickly through a seemingly unconnected array of sketches. The whole FML premise became increasingly tenuous as the night wore on, at times the only link appearing to be the use of these three consonants to spell out the word ‘female’.

Amongst a few nuggets of comedy gold there were some decidedly unfortunate episodes—can two middle-class, white girls really get away with Smackdown, an ethically questionable but well-acted satire on junkies? I’m not sure, but perhaps the answer to that question lay in the bad taste at the back of my throat. It just wasn’t that funny and it made me feel kind of sad and anxious.

At its best just plain silly and designed to elicit a cheap laugh, the highlights of the performance were still too few. I couldn’t help but feel that the input of an objective third party would have been valuable in cutting out some of the abundant chaff.

This show will make you laugh if only because these two very funny ladies demand it of you, and they are kind of scary. The jokes are crammed in, so FML feels like value for money, but it also feels like quantity rather than quality—entertaining, but nothing new.

Girls Uninterrupted: FML is playing 20 September to 6 October at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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