Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 3

Sketch comedy is the medium in which an original voice is most important in order to be successful. Without the same club route that stand-ups have, a sketch comedy troupe’s only real chance of lasting success is to be picked up for a television/radio pilot and become a brand in their own right. Gein’s Family Giftshop, making their third appearance at the Fringe, have a decidedly unique voice. Despite appearing on BBC Television’s Inside No. 9 and having a Radio 4 series, they have yet to use their oddball stylings to break the same ground conquered previously by the likes of Flight Of The Conchords, The Mighty Boosh and The League Of Gentlemen. However, with this being their third brilliant hour in a row, mainstream success cannot be far behind for this horror-comedy troupe.

There is nothing quite like them and one gets the feeling that’s because nobody could walk their particular tightrope with such fearless ambition.

Volume Three is strikingly different from its two predecessors. In a room decidedly less intimate than its precursors, Gein’s Family Giftshop entertain their biggest audiences ever this year with their unique brand of gross-out, unsettling comedy. The other big change comes from the (seemingly temporary) loss of their third performing member James. He is replaced in some sketches and removed in others, but his absence is unfortunately felt even outside of the explicit references to it. Gein’s Family Giftshop continue on regardless though and the audience are thankful for it. We are treated to an hour of blood, bodies, laughs and intentional but uncomfortable silences, as there is no sketch group better at cultivating their own atmosphere than Gein’s Family Giftshop.

It is this singular vision, to create a sketch show that is bafflingly both down to earth and absurdly gruesome, which allows Gein’s to smooth over the rougher portions of their show. This volume features numerous ambitious feats of structuring and not all of them are successful (particularly an eleventh-hour twist which is announced like a bombshell but ends up landing unimpressively), but that doesn’t matter when the show feels so intriguing to watch. Gein’s Family Giftshop have to be seen to be believed and even with some experimental slip ups and evident last minute script changes, they are a force to be reckoned with on the Fringe. There is nothing quite like them and one gets the feeling that’s because nobody could walk their particular tightrope with such fearless ambition.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

The Stand Comedy Club / The Stand’s New Town Theatre

Josie Long: Tender

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

MARA

★★★★
Summerhall

Working On My Night Moves

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

The Rebirth of Meadow Rain

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Tokyo Rose

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Lucy McCormick: Post Popular

★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

Like persistent dandruff, the multi award-winning sketch group are back and they are itching to show you what they’ve come up with. Skin ailments aside, the four strong, five star sketch group can’t wait to hawk out their highly anticipated third hour. 'Would unsettle even the darkest League of Gentlemen fan' ***** (Sunday Times). 'A joy to watch' ***** (Skinny). 'Intense, inventive sketch comedy' **** (Mail on Sunday). 'Dark and uniquely depraved sketches... tight and impishly inventive' **** (Fest). 'Their glorious filthy and Juvenile punchlines hit the mark' (Chortle). 'The trio's timing is terrific' (Guardian).

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