Róisín and Chiara: Back to Back

Our eyes locked. I opened my mouth in anticipation. A pink shrimp sweet came sailing through the air and bounced off my lip. "My fault, totally my fault!" said Chiara Goldsmith, as she scurried cheekily off in her white boiler suit and oversized sunglasses. Before the sold-out show had even started, as the audience squeezed themselves into the basement room of Boteco, we were already deep in Róisín and Chiara's mad, mad world.

It's hard to take your eyes off this joyous nonsense

What's Back to Back about? They cover the whole bloody spectrum - from love and hate to goats and wolves, comedy duos and their melodramatic aspirations, UK Garage and the Fun Lovin' Criminals. 90s kids will feel very at home in this lunacy, with references to Crazy Town's Butterfly and an exploration of the ridiculous existential questions that The Matrix posed.

I loved Back to Back. There's a charm and silliness and ease in their partnership that makes them a delight to watch. From start to finish, it's hard to take your eyes off this joyous nonsense as they prowl around the stage flicking between character sketches, rap freestyles and audience interactions. Two years ago in Henry's Cellar Bar I was subject to one of Róisín O'Mahoney's legendary encounters. She had me in tears then, oscillating between terrified and tickled. And it was much the same this year, when a young man called Rufus became the object of her pathological desires.

Clearly the Edinburgh audiences are into these folks, and rightly so. Boteco must have turned 20 people away at the door because there physically wasn't enough space in the room. If my review so far hasn't already convinced you to go, then go! Grab a ticket in advance though, so you don't risk being turned away like those poor chaps.

I'm curious to see how Róisín and Chiara develop over the next couple of years. It's a style of performance that does well in intimate spaces, but their growing audience numbers might require them to adapt their vibe accordingly. I would also have loved to see some more new material in there. It's all absolute gold, but there was quite a lot of material from when I'd seen them two years ago. However, they still find freshness in it all, and Róisín losing her shit whilst stuffing marshmallows into her mouth was a testament to that.

Reviews by Jim Ralley

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Performances

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The Blurb

A bubbling, slightly twisted blend of The Mighty Boosh, House of Pain and James Joyce. Call it stream-of-consciousness, messy art-house disco funk comedy. A two-woman character sketch comedy bonanza. These 'improvising geniuses' (FunnyWomen.com) guarantee a kaleidoscopic adventure of surreal proportions. 'Sensual, spiritual, baffling, staggering... hilariously unpredictable' ***** (ThreeWeeks). Meet 'The Mighty Boosh on acid' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com) and the female duo 'redefining live comedy' (Vice.com). Róisín and Chiara’s lightning-paced, rhapsodic storytelling, told in uncanny synchronicity, brings to life a plethora of irresistibly well-observed character vignettes unlike anything else on the scene.

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