Christmas for Two: Friends With You
Variable sketch show of audacious surrealism
This article is from 2011.
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.