The History Girls Present: A Summary of Things So Far

The title of this show is a rather misleading one. Yes, this is an historical sketch show and yes this three handed comedy group are all female; unfortunately, due to the lack of breadth and diversity in the show, this far from provides a summary of things so far.

All three performers have sparse comic moments, but the show is dragged out of the doldrums by Vanessa-Faye Stanley who nails the character acting and manages to pull up the quality of the hour with her face alone. Unfortunately for her, the sketches that she inhabits lack punch. Returning sketches are fine when the jokes vary each time; in this show the same sketch comes back three times with an almost identical joke and weak punchline. There are some good concepts here that with a bit more thought could have some milage: Mary I, Elizabeth I and Mary queen of Scots celebrating super sweet sixteens; horny Josephine chasing after power hungry Napoleon (although it needs a better starting point then ‘not now Josephine’); a chat show dealing with the issues that medieval women faced. However, these sketches are undermined by meandering dialogue, overly spun out scenes and underwhelming punchlines. This could be easily sorted by the girls reaching the point faster with some editing but for now many of the sketches drag horrifically. The only moment that has any impact is when the girls portray the Brontë sisters, but even this is ruined through repetition: the characters simply aren’t interesting enough to hold three sketches on their own. These repetitions are punctuated with Gilliam-esque animations which come across as unoriginal rather than the homage they intended.

These women obviously have comic talent and this shines through in the moments when they stray from the prepared material but unfortunately the scripts and concepts cannot keep up with them. History is bound to repeat itself but that doesn’t mean a historical sketch show has to.

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The Blurb

Best Show Award nominees at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival 2012, The History Girls stick a wig on history and laugh at its bits. 'A sort of Bronté Python... ' (Chortle.co.uk).

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