Twisted Loaf Present Stale Mate (2 stars)

This article is from 2015

Twisted Loaf Present Stale Mate

Occasionally painful sometimes dazzling sketch insanity

If last year’s show was Half Baked, this year’s is fully fried. Like French & Saunders after some especially bad acid, Twisted Loaf duo Nina Smith and Libby Northedge delight in the strangeness of their bonkers character comedy; but the audience isn’t always so enthralled.

Stale Mate opens with a torchlit bum, followed by the Amazonian Libby in see-through black underwear and heels, having coke dabbed up her nose and being led through the crowd on a leash. But just as cocaine makes a bad substitute for a real personality, the bared boobs, pregnant pauses and deliberately awkward audience interactions can’t float the show through some of the weaker moments. When it’s bad, it gets pretty painful.

That said, there are dazzling moments in there too. Their accents – a sexed-up Scouse home help, various upper-class London do-gooders, an earnest branding and marketing woman from the company ‘Exploit’ – are all spot-on, and some of their physical comedy and facial rubbery is irresistible. If you like your comedy with a distinct edge, their experimental sketch daftness could be worth a punt. Just hold on to your pint. And your personal belongings.

Just the Tonic at The Caves, 0330 220 1212, until 29 Aug, 5pm, £8 (£7).

Twisted Loaf Present Stale Mate

  • 2 stars

A blend of contemporary clowning and physical characterisation by the duo of comedy loafers.