Funny girls Ford & Akram Bamp up the action at this year's Edinburgh Fringe
From Humdinger to Bamp: Louise and Yasmine show their Boosh side
This article is from 2012.
Anyone appearing at the Fringe for the first time, be that as audience member or stage act, might be shocked to discover some of the claustrophobic, sweaty hellholes that we like to call performance spaces during August. One of last year’s comedy double act hits, Ford & Akram (Louise & Yasmine), have a top tip for any newcomers willing to listen. ‘I deal very badly with it as evidenced by a photo that was taken after one of the shows last year when I look like a sweaty, lanky tree,’ recalls Ford. ‘Yasmine is very good at make-up so she knows how to avoid sweating around the face.’
‘My secret to having a non-shiny face on stage, and this might shock a few people, is Milk of Magnesia under the make-up,’ Akram exclusively reveals. ‘The one good thing I always take away from a show is that I’m not sweating. Though when people see Milk of Magnesia on the bedside table, they do tend to think there’s something wrong with your innards.’
Technical issues aside, their 2011 narrative-sketch show Humdinger showed the pair are adept clowns and mimics, largely unburdened by shame given their propensity for making right eejits of themselves but happily blessed with a comic sense of the absurd and timing to die for. This year’s title possibly shows their Boosh-like side. What on earth is Bamp! all about, then?
Akram starts the explanation: ‘There was a brief moment at the beginning of last year’s show when Louise said “bamp”, a word she’d invented, kind of “it’s happening” or “it’s on.”’ ‘Like voila!’ adds Ford, who is also performing a solo show in the character guise of Jenny Fawcett. ‘The deal is that my family invented some well-known phrases in modern parlance such as “the wow factor” and “at the end of the day”. We meet my nana Tulip, a Mafia boss played by Yasmine, but it’s about finding the origins of the word and how it gets out there.’
One way to get the word out on a Fringe act is with an arresting image. For last year’s debut, the pair (who met at RADA) opted to largely cover Ford’s face with masses of hair (mainly belonging to Akram); this year she is well and truly exposed to the public. ‘Everyone enjoyed that last year except for me because it’s good to get the face and eyes out there,’ insists Ford. ‘Yasmine wanted another full-face-covered shot of me and just her looking glamorous but I vetoed that. It’s bullying really. She’s doing it right now; she’s bought a packet of fondant fancies but only gave me one just as the phone rang. If that isn’t bullying, I’m not sure what is.’
‘If anything,’ protests Akram, ‘I’m the sensitive one out of the two of us. Perhaps over-sensitive, some might say. We had talked of doing the posters every year with Louise’s face covered but then we decided maybe someone somewhere might want to see her. It’s not bullying, I’m helping her. Making her stronger.’
Ford & Akram: Bamp!, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 3.15pm, £9–£9.50 (£7.50–£8). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5; Jenny Fawcett, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 12.50pm, £8–£8.50 (£7–£7.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.