That Pair: Letting It Go

Sketch duo That Pair offer warped children’s entertainment that all adults can enjoy. They’re the unhinged double act who arrived drunk at your niece’s fifth birthday party and had to be escorted off the premises after flashing your elderly uncle. 

Letting It Go explodes rigid codes of gendered, particularly feminine, behaviour. In the end though, the heart of this show is silliness and fun.

Lorna Shaw becomes the girly Princess Lorna and Kathryn Bond is a part-time waitress who plays the princess’ ‘peripheral roles’. Off-beat, deliberately bad acting and moments of eccentric rage make Bond the clown to Shaw’s straight(ish) man (woman (princess)).

From the start, Shaw and Bond create an energised party atmosphere, inviting us to stand, sing along, and dance with them. After this punchy opening, That Pair do all the work, delivering an hour of top-notch gooning around. Random stage slaps, quick costume changes, and penis jokes define their unique brand of quirky camp. The show is full of joyfully naff effects such as talcum powder used as smoke for the entry of the fairy god mother, lots of glitter, and the shiny yellow wig that Shaw wears throughout.

There are plenty of catchy musical numbers, starting with You Know What Happens On Your Birthday. The Truth About Girls is surely destined to become a feminist anthem; its chorus ‘girls, girls, girls… anatomically we are girls’ is now stuck in my head. Strong, simple melodies and Shaw’s guitar playing and vocal ability make for an album of pop hits.

Their writing has more thoughtful moments, too. The seedy, somewhat depressing aspects of working in entertainment are emphasised through the interactive games ‘Real pirate or party entertainer?’, and ‘Prostitute or party entertainer?’ Shaw and Bond present a twisted version of stuck-in-the-mud where after frenetic dancing around, the ‘stuck’ member starts on a vulnerable monologue, while gazing into the middle-distance.

There’s an underlying thread of gender-questioning throughout That Pair’s comedy. The princess party premise prompts an exploration of the way gender stereotypes are reinforced in childhood upbringing. Simply by Bond’s constant gurning, and the pair’s unceremonious stripping at the end, Letting It Go explodes rigid codes of gendered, particularly feminine, behaviour. In the end though, the heart of this show is silliness and fun.

Reviews by Kate Wilkinson

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The Blurb

Combining real life stories, sketches and songs, the critically acclaimed duo return with a cautionary tale of two kids’ party entertainers battling to convince the world they are real princesses. A part-fantasy, part-reality based hour of 'off-beat brilliance … beautiful skits and bonkers characters' **** (Times). As heard on BBC Radio 4, as seen on BBC Three Comedy Feeds, Channel 4's Blaps, E4 and Call the Midwife. Funny Women finalists 2012. 'Sublime' ***** ( 'Delightful' **** (Skinny). 'Some of the sharpest, most imaginative new writing you’ll find anywhere on the sketch scene' (Guardian).