Flo & Joan: The Kindness of Stranglers

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Flo & Joan
Published 13 Aug 2017

Musical comedy double-act Flo & Joan (comprised of sisters Nicola and Rosie Dempsey), as per the confines of the genre, have received comparisons to just about every similarly-numbered, or similarly-gendered act in the business. What sets them apart in this case is their unwillingness to be shoehorned into any one of these tags.

They are their own creation. It's achieved through chameleon-like shifting of musical and comedic style, sure, but the result is an original (if inconsistent) hour in The Kindness of Stranglers. Nicola provides the instrumentation (some lovely piano stylings and the bluesiest recorder solo you'll hear this Fringe) whilst Rosie takes the mantle of lead vocals. They're talented performers, and they make a refreshing departure from the norm by constructing comedy songs around the melodies and genres themselves, rather than just funny lyrics put to a chord progression.

It's a crisp and clean production, and they exploit the double-act dynamic well. There's ditties about cat-calling, how each of them would kill the other, saving the bees, and an inventive acapella wordplay "rap". Whilst the creative risks in terms of the format do bring a layer of originality to proceedings, the jokes themselves are a little played-out (and lacking in quantity). It's enjoyably quirky, but they almost lull you into sitting back and letting the whimsy wash over you, rather than hanging on their every lyric for a punchline.

Pleasant on the ear if not tickling on the ribs, the duo provide a worthwhile addition to the extensive canon of funny people playing instruments.