Birthday Girls, made up of members of the now disbanded sketch group Lady Garden, is a three-woman group delivering excellently pitched long and short scenes. Camille Ucan, Beattie Edmondson and Rose Johnson bridge the gap between silliness and seriousness superbly with sketches ranging from character work to more observation-based scenes.
The most impressive feature of the show was the sheer commitment to and consistent quality of the acting.
The Birthday Girls reach their peak when engaging with television programmes: the two sketches that stood out were one addressing the issue of spoilers in Game of Thrones, and another mocking programmes in the vein of Supersize vs Superskinny with their own perfectly pitched ‘FATSO’ starring the “thin host” and an (air-quotes) ‘Doctor’. The sheer ridiculousness of these programmes is neatly summed up. Similarly, a sketch involving a wedding fair is excellently executed, involving a member of the audience, quinoa and East London hipster sensibilities. The sketch was perfectly scripted and when it turned out that a prop was missing, Edmondson was able to carry on with skill. The show includes dance breaks between each sketch and watching various styles of dance being lampooned provides as much delight as watching the sketches themselves. The tightly choreographed dance in lyrical contemporary style features much arm waving, and is of particular note.
As is to be expected from any sketch show, some of the sketches fall flat. The spoof of Great British Bake Off as the Great British Shit Off goes on for too long – were it halved in length it might be a more effective moment of the show. This seems, however, to be a blip in what was otherwise a well-trimmed set.
The most impressive feature of the show was the sheer commitment to and consistent quality of the acting. Whether it was being the “number one pop song group” from Turkey (with an obsession with kofte), or being women advertising online bingo, there was no doubt that Ucan, Edmondson and Johnson were utterly committed to their sketches, up to the final moments of the show which saw the entire audience rise to their feet for a promised dance party. Over the course of this dance, in a vaguely terrifying moment, Ucan crowd-surfed in spite of cries that the Birthday Girls “don’t have insurance”, neatly summing up the actor’s commitment throughout the show. The sheer enthusiasm from everyone in the room, particularly the Birthday Girls themselves, is testament to the witty and sleek show they have constructed: a show that I wholly recommended.