Comedy duo Kate Stokes and Claudia Summers, better known as Stokes & Summers to their TikTok fans, make their Edinburgh Fringe debut with Careering, a sketch comedy show set in office block Hades House, with the pair playing its various staff.
Over the course of an hour, we meet characters who may be familiar to anyone who has worked in an office, from the CEO who talks in acronyms, to the receptionists who seem to lack basic people skills. The pair have great chemistry and you can see that they absolutely love what they do, even if the material sometimes doesn’t land. Some of the characters are almost too recognisable, and you feel that if they dialled up the absurdity it would be even funnier. The show is a multimedia experience, with video and audio helping with transitions between sketches and costume changes. It’s a well-conceived idea, but not every sketch is a winner and instead of out-and-out hilarity, there are polite murmurings of amusement.
There are limitations set out by the venue, as the stage in the Turret room is quite small and slightly hampers the physicality of the pair’s performance. Some sketches take place under a table, making the action basically unviewable to anyone beyond the second row. The pair throw themselves enthusiastically into the material (and, quite literally throw themselves around the stage) but you feel that in a different room, the show would play better. The conceit of the office block characters is stretched a little thin, and the beauty of sketch comedy is often you don’t need an overarching theme or a running plot. You can just have a series of punchy, funny bits without the need to link them all together.
A good, funny hour that has the potential to be great with a little bit of tweaking and a bigger stage to showcase the pair’s talents.