Raising the sketch stakes with insightful and masterful work
Leslie and Jackie (emphatically not Lola and Jo) welcome the audience to test out Lola and Jo's sketches ahead of next year's Fringe. The set-up is that Leslie and Jackie will perform these routines and solicit feedback. In practice, they also provide some reaction themselves so that the show works as a series of sketches and ekes out extra laughs by commenting upon them. In addition to this, tension between Lola and Jo manifests in animosity between Leslie and Jackie so that three layers are happening simultaneously.
This may sound dry but it's anything but: Lola Stephenson and Joanna Griffin's talents allow them to slip between characters seamlessly, often incorporating a masterful command of accents, invigorating the sketch format and allowing them to showcase a multitude of character and storytelling skills.
There's an insightful take-down of an aspirational hen-do, while we meet lecturers who just want to be down with the kids; plus there's a dance about social media and a presentation by two nervous staff members at an away day. Effectively, there are plenty changes to the format so that it never becomes predictable. Elevating the sketch genre beyond most other practitioners, this is a highly accomplished show that doesn't sacrifice the humour for its concept.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, until 26 Aug, 6.40pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.