Bryony Twydle is an excellent impressionist. Before our very eyes, she transforms into a QVC presenter, a public schoolboy, and a very shouty speed safety instructor, by changing nothing more than her body language and vocal mannerisms. This is especially impressive when you take into account the space she’s working with – Underbelly’s Daisy is a small room at the best of times, but even more so when it’s packed with chairs and your stage ends up being approximately the size of a generous shopping trolley. Twydle manages valiantly though, and uses the space so efficiently that it’s easy to forget she isn’t in the Udderbelly itself.
Although the show initially appears to be a loose collection of skits with Twydle being the common denominator, there are offhand remarks which bind the characters together in a more profound manner. We end up feeling terrible for little Hector who – despite going to a very nice public school – is so lonely that the housekeeper is his only friend. And we end up caring about the overbearing speed safety instructor who, as it turns out, only got the job to avenge her dead daughter. It’s a nice insight into the lives of strangers, even if they are caricatures.
Twydle sticks with simpler props, to let the audience focus on her writing and performance skills instead. This is definitely a good choice – in fact, her characters would be just as lifelike without their costumes as with them (although it’s always fun to don an oversized faux fur coat, so you can’t really blame her on that front).
The only complaint about this show is perhaps the audience participation – there’s one sketch that seems a little too personal for the average Fringe-goer to be comfortable performing. Furthermore, it takes the focus away from Twydle, who is absolutely funny enough to keep the limelight all to herself. But honestly, that’s a small complaint for an otherwise excellent show; her performance is a crash course in both acting and entertaining, with a level of skill in both fields that is very refreshing to watch.