Sketch comedy fan Tim Lewis explains why you (yes, you) should go see clowning duo Beard when they perform their show The Grin of Love at Invisible Dot this week.
Back in August when things were better, I attended the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for a week. While there I managed to go see 20 shows, almost all of which were at the very least, good.
However, if asked to pick my favourite show of the entire Fringe, it would probably have to be sketch duo, Beard with their show The Grin of Love. Luckily for those in London (or those willing to travel – I genuinely think its worth it), they start their week long run at The Invisible Dot in King’s Cross this week.
Beard are a sketch act made up of Matilda Wnek and Rosa Robson, two former Cambridge Footlights and graduates from Ecole Philippe Gaulier’s clowning school (the two main training centres for the bulk of great British comedy it seems). The two create sketches that are surreal, theatrical and haunting; if you were to ask for a reference point, I suppose the Mighty Boosh, the League of Gentlemen or even Monty Python at times would be apt.
Their show, the Grin of Love covers the big topics: birth, death and everything in between. I am hesitant to talk about any of the specific sketches as I would hate to ruin even a second of this show but it really is some of the most interesting comedy currently on show in 2015. The one thing I will say, the questionnaire segment of the show, which conjures up images of Wonderland or Oz, is perfect.
I remember well my trip to the show; it was chucking it down and I had just finished the worst slice of pizza I am likely to eat this year. The show was at 1.15 pm (which in an Edinburgh headspace feels like an extraordinarily early time to be up for) and the venue was full despite stiff competition from shows by Ed Gamble and Mike Wozniak happening at the same time just down the road.
Something I absolutely adore in any comedy show is for the performers to already be on stage as the audience come in and Beard do it in a way that sums up the show perfectly: unnerving, unusual and hilarious.
After a masterful hour the show ended with a standing ovation that was so richly deserved that I was nearly brought to tears. It’s a genuinely moving experience following the bizarre world we had found ourselves in for the past hour.
Sketch comedy in 2015 seems to be at an all time high. Daphne had (for my money) the funniest show at the Fringe (so go see that when it also hits the Invisible Dot later in the year), BBC3 seem to have hit gold with People Time (please turn that into a series) and Max and Ivan get better with every new hour they release.
Despite all this, I still think Beard stand tallest, the Grin of Love is a truly exceptional piece of work. I never thought I’d use the word “magical” to describe a comedy show, it just sounds a bit too silly to me but the Grin of Love is truly magical. The Grin of Love is a genuine masterpiece; at times low key, at times cinematic but always thrilling and hilarious. Go.