Lazy Susan, aka Freya Parker and Celeste Dring, are something like old hands at the Edinburgh Fringe now, having scooped a nomination for the Best Newcomer gong back in 2014. This year sees the sketch double act return to the undersized environs of Assembly’s The Box to delight a packed-out audience with their blend of zany characters, regional accents, dark humour and social commentary.
The girls’ cast of characters encompasses all sorts, from stunning women with hidden baggage to whimsical French female film characters written by men to self-obsessed party girls late for a big(gish) night out. While the material and jokes are all fairly light at surface level, there’s a barbed undercurrent of commentary running throughout which adds an extra layer of meaning and an additional level of laughter to their work.
It’s most evident in the darkest scenes, such as the one involving two balaclava-clad rapists opening up to each other while waiting for their next victim in a bush. The meta-narrative which stitches all of the scenes together is also a fine example of their ability to weave in the absurd and the daft along with the socially relevant, culminating in a neat tying-up of loose threads that adds a curveball resolution and contemporary relevance to the show in one fell swoop.
While the audience interaction is certainly the weakest part of their act, the fact that it plays a greater role than just humiliating some poor schmuck and eating up some airtime means that it all pays off in the end. Both performers tread the line perfectly between maintaining a rapport with the audience and keeping us at arm’s length, even dealing with the heckles of a one-year-old with impressive alacrity and cutting humour.
The script itself is a superb mix of thoughtful witticisms, relatably mundane episodes and well-placed swears. While there are a couple of dips in quality, they represent a tiny fraction of the finished product and Fringe-goers will leave the confines of the aptly-named Box with the impression that Lazy Susan are undoubtedly the real deal when it comes to well-written, well-worked and witheringly relevant sketch comedy for the MeToo generation.