Westdal and Hayward Need Work

Freyja Westdal and Beth Heyward join the ranks of such excellent Fringe female musical comedy acts as Fascinating Aida, Flo & Joan, and EastEnd Cabaret with a smart, funny, cheeky show that’s plays perfectly to the onstage personas they have chosen to portray. Alternating between haughty and mischievous, these ladies present themselves as Agony Aunts at Large and they’ve got a prosecco ice-bucket-load of advice for us.

Reminiscent of the late, great Victoria Wood

During this swift 50 minute show, we are treated to gags on everything from the oppression of women’s magazines both historical and present to the strange, horrific attraction of Jacob Rees Mogg. Along the way the ladies touch on self-help books, dick pics, office recycling, and middle aged privilege. These are split between smart back and forth banter and comedy cover songs that keep the somewhat sedate audience chuckling along.

The songs are genius. Each number has an easily recognisable tune played skilfully on piano by Westdal but with new lyrics that are reminiscent of the late, great Victoria Wood. Particular highlights include a Sound of Music medley about weight gain and aging, a Hamilton-esque rap about David Miliband and, my particular favourite, a song about menopause to Lionel Bart’s Reviewing the Situation from Oliver!

Both Westdal and Hayward are solid singers and deliver the material with a comfortable confidence in each other. A few minor line flubs are joked about and laughed past and the pace never drops. The jokes are often obvious and these ladies are unafraid to be crass but that’s the charm of their double-act. This is two ladies of a certain age who are unafraid to be funny, bolshie, and unapologetic that they are done with being ignored by society.

At the end of one of the songs, a woman in the audience exclaims, “Brilliant!” She’s not wrong.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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Performances

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The Blurb

A couple of middle-aged women, who between them have three dogs, two kids but only one fully functioning pelvic floor. They’re a tiny bit cross and they’re not going to take it anymore, so they’re dishing it out instead. Sharing their pearls of wisdom through the mediums of chatter and song, like an unholy pairing of Mary Poppins and Eartha Kitt, Westdal and Hayward, Agony Aunts at large, dispense advice to the grammatically challenged, consolation to the martyrs of menopause and confess to being more than a little mad about the Mogg!

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