Entering The Old Market on a Thursday night, to view a 'prize-winning feministic and queer Swedish comedy' was soon to be met with disappointment. A self-proclaimed '50 minute stand-up show' was not delivered. The performers engaged in a lot of time wasting, delivering two slow, drawn-out 15 minute sets.
Potential to use physicality to great comedic effect
Therese Sandin and Pernilla Hammargren entered the stage, with a distinct lack of material and pace, which reduced the audience to silence. A joke about delivering the show in ‘Swenglish’ and a Julian Assange reference gave some hope of a thought out set; these hopes were soon to be dashed, as the duo waffled on about nothing in particular. After some minutes, they announced that they were ‘going to get started’.
Sandin began her solo set with tales of touring in the US; a strong line about being the first comedy club to do abortions in Alabama landed well, as did imagining the woman’s voice from elevator announcements to be the voice of your psychologist. A joke about the average body size in Sweden, in comparison to that in the US received a mixed response; it could be construed as fat-shaming.
The front row of Swedish supporters provided some energy and response to lacklustre stories about how to deal with a crying baby on a plane - by chastising the mother - and an over-long set on childbirth, through the eyes of a midwife.
Sandin questioned the audience about where they were from and if there were any cat owners, yet there appeared to be no related material or punch lines about the subject. The theme of loneliness was explored via asking the audience who lived alone and ‘single-shaming’ them; more thought could have been put into this by considering that some people may live alone by choice, rather than through the implied ‘you’re a sad lonely single person’.
Hammargren took the stage, to present their 15 minute set. Material about social anxiety was delivered by looking at the floor and holding onto the mic stand; the audience were unsure whether this choice of delivery was for comic effect, or if Hammargren was indeed experiencing anxiety. The audience responded well to material about Hammargren’s mother viewing the entire series of Orange is the New Black and her hippy-style strategy of tackling her daughter’s anxiety through camomile tea. The strongest joke in the set entailed what could happen if feminist terrorists took over an aircraft; this created laughter and could have been developed further. Hammargren’s performance seemed to step up a notch when presenting material on raising her son as gender neutral. A pre-schooler returning home to ask his mummies ‘why didn’t you tell me I was a boy!’ created much laughter. However, further material on trying to ‘break down’ a child if they were male, in preference to the ‘building up’ of a female child, received a mixed reaction from a queer/non-binary audience.
Hammargren’s performance at times showed an animated face and comfortable movement around the stage; they have the potential to use physicality to great comedic effect. Hammargren’s set then trailed off track, as notes and the time were openly checked. ‘Coming out to mother’ material created some laughter.
The show ended with a ‘dance off’; a self-proclaimed last-minute addition to the night, which although carried comic potential, particularly when Hammargren ran into the audience, was not carried through. The audience left the show with an all-encompassing feeling of disappointment.