The zombie apocalypse rages outside, but we are relatively safe and quite warm in the last bastion of civilisation – a radio station run by two cats. They are definitely, definitely cats, we are told, and not just two comedians wearing fluffy ears. Nonetheless these cats considerately perform human comedy for us, and deliver a stream of sketches, one-liners, and silliness which will please homosapien and feline alike.
Cat FM is accomplished, unpretentious and fun: the very best of Pay What You Want Fringe.
The ‘cats’ are Chris Turner and Alice Winn, both ex-Oxford Imps, up-and-coming comedians, and real life in love. The duo are each performing in multiple other shows this fringe, but have used Cat FM as a chance to try their hand (paw?) at a variation on the traditional narrative sketch-show format. The show shifts naturally between the narrative at the Cat FM studio, and the embedded sketches. Segues between the two are covered by audio adverts from cat company sponsors. While these adverts play, the duo continue to be cats on the stage: you know you're in Edinburgh when finding it perfectly understandable that you're watching two adults gently lick each other. These moments worked best when the duo made ‘being a cat’ into a joke in itself, such as being distracted by a laser dot.
In the narrative, we piece together the events leading to the apocalypse, learn more about each character's past, and see the two kitties become lovestruck. All leads to a much awaited musical finale, involving Grease and sharpie pens, and a satisfyingly weird conclusion to tie up the loose ends. Plus, there's some surreal horse-play (you'll see what I mean).
Their sketches are well-structured, and often excel in their punchlines (the place where most sketch comedians fall down). It's frankly refreshing to see a male-female duo, and they wisely cast their sketches to allow for a good amount of balance in straight and character roles. That said, Turner is particularly successful in the larger-than-life, physically energetic roles; Winn in sarcastic put-downs and deadpan delivery. Within the narrative, their one-liners are frequent, intelligent and silly. I'd have liked to have seen either more sincerity or more melodrama in the relationship between the two cat characters, Elodie and Jacques: as it was, there weren't enough surprises to make the narrative as entertaining as the sketches. More sentiment and/or more silliness in this plot would help the audience invest in their developments.
Cat FM is accomplished, unpretentious and fun: the very best of Pay What You Want Fringe. It deserves a far larger audience to fill its literally cavernous room. Whether you're binge watching comedy or only seeing a couple of shows, whether you're a cat lover or a horse hater, Cat FM is well worth your time. This feline double-act makes a proficient and kooky comedy show which ticks all the right ‘Fringe Festival’ boxes.