Girls Sketch Group, comprising some of the most talented members of Live’s Youth Theatre, returns in honour of Juice festival performing their hilarious production ‘Your Aunt Fanny’. Formed only in April of this year, these talented young women work superbly well together, bouncing witticisms off one another faster than the two swimmers of Team VG swim their winning lengths (go see the sketch to understand!)
Simple stage setting and lighting throughout throws the quality of the acting strongly into focus – there are no real props or distractions to speak of, nothing to hide behind. Various upbeat tracks mark the seamless transition between sketches, the first of which sees a handful of the girls posing as stereotypical male chavs – never have the words ‘aye’, ‘reet’ and, indeed, ‘aye reet’ been uttered so many times in five minutes. It is a testament to the acting abilities of these girls that, had I closed my eyes, I could have easily been transported to any given senior school at any given break time, where these expressions are bandied about endlessly. The true charm of their characters is revealed when they mutually agree that a love letter written in pubes by a friend is ‘quite lyrical’: one’s fears regarding the smell of said letter are dismissed with the revelation that ‘he Lynxed it first’ – no worries there, then.
One of the night’s most popular sketches stars the wonderful Matilda Neill as a ‘motivational speaker’ talking to year 12 students. Her portrayal of this flamboyant teacher and his advice to fictional pupils has the audience in stitches.
For me, the highlight of the performance is a sketch that recurs again and again throughout – a snapshot into the lives of two posh yummy mummies. ‘Felix darling, mummy’s just here!’ becomes the show’s tagline. Here the girls perfectly walk the fine line of mocking the yummy mummy way of life without being particularly offensive – as with all of the sketches featured in the night’s performance, their portrayals are humorous without being overly crude. It is, however, clear to see why the show is rated as being appropriate only for ages 14+ – it is likely that some of the language used and themes addressed would be unsuitable for younger audiences.
The final sketch – a fantastic one to finish with – brings the house down: a completely bizarre but side-splitting snapshot into a support group for – who would have thought it? – women with excessive eyebrows (or, to use the group’s ‘safe word’, ‘caterpillars’). To dig deeper, this sketch could be viewed as an intelligent parody of today’s obsession with the elusive notion of ‘beauty’ – the fact that one member professes to have ‘registered myself deceased’ and ‘not left the house for six weeks’ due to a bit of extra facial hair says it all, really.
All in all, I would have no hesitation in recommending ‘Your Aunt Fanny’: 50 minutes of hilarity from an extremely talented set of young women. Girls Sketch Group prove, basically, that girls can be cunningly intelligent and fantastically funny all at once. Look out for their shows in future – I know I certainly will!
Review by Beth Allison