Fringe Comedy Reviews: LetLuce and Twisted Loaf

Feature by Tony Makos | 12 Aug 2015

Letty Butler and Lucy Pearman are LetLuce [★★★★], whose show Sea Men (A Naval Tale) seems to be fishing for a saucy pun that, thankfully, never shows up. Many other underwater based puns do during this delightfully irreverent romp through a world populated with Northern fish, talking potions, crab head puppets, and, of course, Ian McShane’s circus (you will never forget Ian McShane’s circus). As the audience are encouraged to participate in this fraught ocean journey to River Island (no, not that one), Butler and Pearman go through numerous insanely ambitious costume changes exhaustively presenting wacky character after wacky character, one eye firmly on the funny while the other winks at the ridiculousness of it all.  Even Ronan Keating makes a welcome appearance, and you can’t say that about most shows. Think an even more playful and kid-friendly Mighty Boosh, if that’s possible, and get swept up in more fun than is usually allowed in a damp cave. This is, fundamentally, a joyful hour of storytelling. 

Spending an hour in the company of Nina Smith and Libby Northedge, known together as Twisted Loaf [★★★★★], is an altogether, well, different prospect. Not that it’s without joy – far from it – but their particular form of comedy writhes and convulses beneath a thinly veiled cabaret nightmare of blood, lipstick, nudity and physical contortion. Stale Mate is an astonishing thing to watch and be a part of, and the audience has very little choice but to participate in the ongoing madness. Smith and Northedge don’t so much 'inhabit characters' as morph in and out of grotesque figures who stumble in and out of sketches that continually bleed in and out of one another. The darkness at the heart of this hour only makes every twist and turn even more brutally funny, as the onstage relationship between the two performers becomes more fraught, creepy and downright insane. Witty, imaginative, and hilarious, it's hard to imagine anything else that can quite match it.

LetLuce in Sea Men (A Naval Tale), Just the Tonic @ The Caves, until 29 Aug (not 18), 4pm, free

Twisted Loaf present Stale Mate, Just the Tonic @ The Caves, until 29 Aug (not 18), 5pm, £7-8