The Boom Jennies at Canal Cafe Theatre
Andrew Mickel8 May 2008
Confession time - the night started ominously. On the tables, as we were waiting for the acts to come on stage, were small piles of muffins and mini-eggs, all with a “For Display Purposes Only” sign next to them.
To a dedicated reviewer, who had missed his tea earlier in the evening, this was something of a red rag to a bull, and in his blind rage he was seriously considering using them as “For Pelting The Compere Purposes Only”.
Mercifully, it transpired that a) this was both the first and the least funny joke of the evening, and b) the compere had the good sense not to appear on stage but instead to perform her duties from the safety of a voiceover, where my confectionary missiles could not find her.
The youthful acts on who followed this odd gambit were generally excellent.
Imogen Rands, opening the evening with a short but sweet look at a hen night in Barcelona, really needed a larger crowd to get her audience-participation bit under full steam, but she did admirably with what she had. A well-judged number of groansome puns (and, in this terror-terrified era, always nice to hear lingerie jokes about a Basque separatist) and some good throwaway lines (anti-Rohypnol ice cubes, anyone?) combined to keep the laughs coming.
Up next was the splendidly-monikered Davis Wateracre (not, one imagines, his real name), of comedy outfit Pegabovine, a musician-comedian with a lovely old-school music hall feel. His touchingly whimsical songs were the highlight - “Sexy Little Ole Me,” about, if I understood correctly, an amorous octogenarian dwarf, was particularly good, although an extended musical metaphor about his ex-girlfriend going swimming (“I feel like a rubber brick unretrieved from the briny deep”) also amused.
In between the songs, his air of nervous amiability kept the audience on side, and while the music carried the show he was able to unleash a few good jokes in between, so it never went flat.
The highlight of the evening, however, was the Boom Jennies. The three girls in this sketch combo (Lizzie Bates, Catriona Knox and Anna Emerson) had some genuinely fantastic material and a Goon Show-esque eye for the surreal. The opening skit, about a neurotic bunny-boiler and her dysfunctional friends, set the tone nicely with sardonic observational comedy and gleeful wordsmithery.
An over compensatory HR department’s desperate struggles to hire a minority employee (“Are you actually mentally retarded, Hannah?” “If only I were, Juliet”) and a frankly bizarre, yet oddly affecting, piece about three cheeses on a board were funny and unexpected, but if I had to pick a personal favorite it was the Nigella Lawson-Jamie Oliver exchange, which portrayed the Domestic Goddess as a braying Lady Haw-Haw and St Jamie as a London’s own village idiot.
I don’t want to give away their best jokes, but I will say that a one-liner about the proper preparation of a partridge had me laughing out loud for some minutes after the act had finished.
If a criticism can be made it is that the show was rather short - starting after nine thirty and finishing up in the bar before half ten.
Apparently, however, both Imogen Rands and the Boom Jennies were missing a fellow performer, and besides, much better too short than too long.
A sharp and original evening with some genuinely gifted young comics.
Your rating: None
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