An IMPRESSIVE calling card for comic actress Miranda Hennessy, this blackly funny three-way sketch romp suggests the emergence of a future star. That’s the subtext of this violence-themed hour, in which the perky, diminutive prima donna’s on-stage sparkle is tinged with an overt threat of abuse towards her co-stars, David Seymour and Steve Shapland, who are desperate to escape and set up as a comedy duo.
The trio deliver a high hit rate with their sketches but what really makes the show is the insidious cruelty that spills from one scene to another and through the changes, exemplified by their gleefully sick take on MI6 agent Gareth Williams’s demise in a holdall.
A sometime member of imaginative sketch act Clever Peter, Hennessy’s “behind-the-mask” persona is reminiscent of her namesake Richardson as Queen Elizabeth I in Blackadder, capricious, girlish and vengeful, the dynamic she has with Seymour and Shapland recalls the ringmaster authority of Greg Davies over his We Are Klang co-stars. Shrewdly, she’s as routinely the dupe in the skits as the others, affording them little triumphs of respite. But you’re never in doubt as to who’s boss.
Indeed, that’s established from the beginning, with a balaclava-sporting Hennessy holding Seymour hostage at gunpoint, escalating the depravity with a succession of twists. They constantly find a way to either ramp up the dark humour and knockabout nastiness, through a succession of fine topper gags, or instead have the men recoiling in horror and disgust. Sexual role-play, necrophilia and fox rape are just some of the depths they explore. But it’s all done with a playful sense of mischief.
A recurring character, Victoria with a V, affords Hennessy the opportunity to audition for any casting agents, a none-too-original take on the oblivious, self-obsessed Made In Chelsea set, which the comic nails with air-headed aplomb.
Less convincing is Shapland’s Sean Connery accent and a so-so Glee spoof. A jogging interlude, in which Hennessy is possessed by whichever song is on her MP3 player, fails to raise a laugh. These are isolated misfires, though, and scarcely detract from this highly promising debut.
Until 27 August. Today, 2:50pm.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West