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.
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.