Christmas for Two: Friends With You (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Christmas for Two: Friends With You

Variable sketch show of audacious surrealism

This sketch duo’s Friends with You starts with a rape joke. The way they treat the topic that has become a shibboleth of contemporary comedy is a statement of purpose, signalling their intent to sidle up against the profane, nudge things into the hyperbolic, and verge on the surreal. Their mixed bag succeeds best when that pattern is followed: a poor choice in birthday present is attributed to the downfall of a friendship; two Tenerife holiday reps crack and expose the depths of their misery.

The routines tend to fall down when the performers opt for the obvious gag or uninventive physical comedy, relying on easy laughs: the scene with a recurring couple locked in a staid marriage quickly goes stale. When they push the limits of the situation and strive for far-flung twists, the sketches achieve the right balance of the kooky and cringeworthy.

Comprised of Sarah Campbell and Amy Hoggart, the two have a seamless relationship. Campbell disappears completely into each character, making the most of her malleable facial expressions, while Hoggart undercuts her cuteness with a dead-eyed stare to create some of the darker moments. The finale is a masterpiece in awkwardness, proving that the more audacious their risks, the more auspicious the reward.

The Caves, 556 5375, until 28 Aug, 4.55pm, £6.50.

Christmas For Two: Friends With You

  • 3 stars

Breakthrough stars of BBC Comedy Extra and BBC3 bring you elegantly odd mega jokes. Christmas for Two are BBC7 New Talent Winner Sarah Campbell and Amy Hoggart, twisted wunderkid and star of Channel 4's Million Hits. This scarily talented twosome bring tales of distinctly disturbing job vacancies, Ibiza club reps at…

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