Innocence meets surrealism in Leads & Stern Edinburgh Fringe show

Light-heartedness with surreal undertones from comedy duo


This article is from 2012.

LEADS & STERN Where innocence meets surrealism

Quick-witted, sharp sketches are what to look out for from Leads & Stern, a bright, young double act with a fine line in unexpected absurdism. Gemma Leader (that’s Leads) clarifies: ‘We considered calling the show One and a Half Minutes with Leads & Stern. Here’s the set-up and then there’s the twist. We’re traditionalists like that.’

The duo revel in light-heartedness with surreal undertones and wear influences on their sleeves: from Morecambe & Wise-esque innocence (‘there’s a sense of playfulness and tongue-in-cheekiness about us’) to darker shades of Julia Davis and Smack the Pony. However, Juliette Stern remains unfazed at comparisons to other lady acts. ‘We think less of ourselves as “female” comedians, and more just “comedians”. We don’t think it should be an issue.’

Leader agrees: ‘Audiences do see comedy as a “man’s world”, probably because there seems to be more of them doing it. That doesn’t mean women aren’t funny.’ Gender rightfully aside, essentially Leads & Stern are just two funny people doing their bit to spread a little joy. ‘Our comedy doesn’t set out to change people’s perceptions or break any kind of social or comic boundaries,’ concludes Leader. ‘It’s definitely firmly rooted in the silly.’

Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 14), 5pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.

This article is from 2012.

Leads & Stern

  • 3 stars

Two girls (average height of 5' 7”) once decided they could probably stand each other enough to be a double act. They were 37% right. So they've made a show of their sketches. And themselves. Fast-paced, irreverent and silly, the sketches are sharply observed and often absurd. Topics covered - is Stern an interesting…


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