Gein’s Family Giftshop @ The King’s Arms, Salford, 23 Jul

Review by John Stansfield | 31 Jul 2014

The sketch group Gein’s Family Giftshop is a movement born out of hate. Not in the same way as the policies of National Socialism, or UKIP – but from a hate for the very art they now carry out. They didn’t like the way sketch comedy was going, so decided to exist in order to do it right, much like Bez from Happy Mondays in any forthcoming election. 

But unlike the maraca-wielding Mancunian, Gein’s are very talented, and the change they have made will hopefully lead to bigger and better things. Tonight sees their Edinburgh preview and, if it’s anything to go by, the next month should see them catapulted to their forefront of their craft. Taking to the stage with a dance routine that is as offensive as it is strangely hypnotic, sketches fall together in an hour that seems to fly by. Where a lot of sketch acts forget how to end their gags, Gein’s fluidity helps the move from one sketch to another without letting the audience take a breath, never really knowing where one sketch ends and the next begins. It is a complete show rather than a series of ‘man walks into a shop’-type skits.

Admittedly their predilection for filth, death and onanism won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but dressed in their trademark kid’s PE kits they become bizarrely asexual and lend a strange lightness to the darker edges of the show. The group's strength lies in their awkward and strangely honest performances, self-referential without being snarky, even when breaking they managed to turn it into part of the show. A joy to watch, provided you don’t suffer from a nervous disposition, this will hopefully be one of the most talked about shows at the Fringe.