Where did you see it? The Pleasance, Islington
I have to admit I wasn't as keen to see the preview Lady Garden's fourth Edinburgh show as I had been to see Beta Males. It seems Lady Garden are an acquired taste with opinions ranging from "Brilliant, they're the ones to watch" from media types (I believe they have a pilot or a full series coming soon) to "they're awful and
there are too many of them" now they've dealt with that last point; there's now five instead of six of them.
|Back row L-R; Beattie Edmondson, Rose Johnson, Hannah Dodd|
Front row; Eleanor Thom, Camile Ucan
The most interesting opinion of Lady Garden I heard was that "they produce a lot of shit but when they hit the mark it's genius" at the time I thought that was ridiculous; how can you forgive a lot of shit for the rare brilliant sketch?
Upon seeing them I could see the point entirely. A lot of their sketches make no sense or just don't work. 'Handsome and Entertaining', for example (they have the name or setting of each sketch on paper, thanks ladies) just confused the audience. Was it Justin Bieber or a Michael Jackson impersonator being played by Edmondson (yes, she related to that Edmondson and that half of French and Saunders) and did Ucan really need to be on the stage as well. It was a low point that I would usually excuse as a filler sketch whilst the others got changed but they had other filler sketches that were so much better.
When they hit the mark, such as their Lady in Red slow dance sketch or the horse dating agency, it was fantastic and as performers they are probably one of the best, most solid sketch groups. Any weakness one performer seemed to have was made up by other skills. Johnson's performances where she spoke failed to hit the mark sometimes but she does have one of the best 'shocked' faces I have seen; she should definitely do a mime show at some point. Dodd and Ucan's (whose face reminded me of Kourtney Kardashian and distracted me) strengths also seemed to rely on their faces.. This isn't the criticism it appears to be; so much comedy relies on silly facial expressions and it is a useful skill.
Thom, if I'm forced to pick a favourite, is my choice. She didn't seem to be in much of the sketch show, as it appeared dominated by the other four but when she appeared you were guarantee a proper laugh out loud sketch. Edmondson seems like she makes a better straight (wo)man than an outright comedy performer, not that she was rubbish, far from it, but she was outshone by her co-stars in the sketches and perhaps my expectations of her were too high considering her pedigree.
Too many of the sketches only produced a smile and if this was a new sketch group I'd be more forgiving but after three Edinburgh shows (and a regular comedy night at the Wilmington Arms) the ladies of Lady Garden should really be better at weeding out (apparently my last review didn't contain enough puns) the weaker sketches.