Soho Theatre is the perfect cherry on top to an inexpensive night out in the west end. One of its mother figures, The Edinburgh Fringe, passes on some rollicking comedy talent each year and I personally rely on the venue to put on stuff I didn’t manage to see up in Scotland, and stuff I ought to know about for the future.
Some of the best comedy I’ve seen at the venue includes american duo The Pajama Men and irish musicomedian David O Doherty. Unfortunately I wasn’t as impressed with the female double-act I saw last week, Ronna and Beverly.
As american-jewish comedy goes, these funny ladies have dared to do and are seemingly reaping rewards. Their realization of over-the-hill yentas is pitch perfect and use of the Yiddish word ‘broigus’ had me in stitches. I chuckled lots at the power-play between the characters whose ‘friendship’ echoed the laurel and hardy remedy. Our intrigue for their book on finding a new partner post-divorce – (and what we were led to believe was the crux of the show) – remains. What was in the book?!
Just over half-time they turn their two woman stand-up routine into a chat show, reminiscent of the Mrs Merton formula but, sadly, with a laissez faire approach that can only be interpreted as laziness. The guests are different every night. When I went, they were Sharon Horgan (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Pulling, Extras) and The Guardian’s film critic and ‘Sounds Jewish’ pod-caster Jason Solomons. Both seemed willing enough but it soon became glaringly obvious and palpably awkward that there had been no rehearsals whatsoever. I suppose they just asked them if they’ll come watch and sit on-stage for a bit. Not award-winning technique, even I’ll say, and I love a bit of improv.
I liked it. But I like anything with Yiddish. My company, on the other hand, thought that Ronna and Beverly truly lost their way.