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Teakshow’s Twisted Sketches

Wednesday, 18 August, 2010

A frenetic 45 minutes

Leicester Square Theatre, 28 and 29 July, 16 and 17th August

It is always good to watch comedians who know what they’re doing. Teakshow’s Twisted Sketches at the Leicester Square Theatre as part of the London Fringe Festival is a lesson in competence, professionalism comic timing and how to make an audience laugh out loud at things that they just shouldn’t.

Jackie Stirling and Johnny Hansler

In a frenetic forty five minutes, Jonathan Hansler and Jackie Stirling take every single cliché in the book, from bird fanciers (literally) to incompetent policemen through to characters stuck in a Noel Coward limbo and robot love machines, and they make them funny.  From the moment they scream Cockney insults at each other then swan on stage announcing sweetly  ‘Hello we’re Londoners,’ you know you’re in for a good time. Taking as their starting point the ‘inner nutter,’ they reel through a variety of sketches with minimal props and maximum energy, sometimes becoming near hysterical in their attempt to woo the audience, but without ever losing pace or focus.

With her deep voice and corkscrew curls, Jackie Stirling comes alive as a hairdresser obsessed with bald patches, cheerfully molesting one particularly verbose audience member and silencing him with her chest. Jonathan Hansler likewise delves amongst the spectators to find himself a girlfriend, to dance on chairs and to wave his flashing dingle. His Bill Sykes, demanding if anyone has seen a ‘fictional Victorian dog’ and explaining how he had to kill Nancy because of her singing, is balanced by the Hampstead policeman who refuses to go to any proper crime and an aristocrat of the 1930s who longs to say rude words. When his cigarette holder disappears, he cheerfully replaces it with a screwdriver as Stirling peers wistfully into the distance.

‘This isn’t porn, it’s an avian snuff movie,’ cries a guilt ridden owl lover.

‘I listen to you, I’ve got tits, I even bought you a drink,’ wails a woman desperate for a boyfriend.

Lines such as these could so easily fall flat. Here they simply don’t, thanks to the mad yet beautifully controlled delivery of the performers.

It’s silly, straight to the point and well executed humour with not a dull moment in sight.

Performers: Jonathan Hansler, Jackie Stirling

Directed by Maggie Inchley

Writers: Jules Bower, Stuart Cooper, Stephen Dinsdale, Chris Perera, Jane Perrin, Griff Phillips, Dan Sweryt, Peter Vincent

Reviewed 16th August 2010

(c) Philippa Tatham 2010

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