Pros: A unique sketch show performed with energy and enthusiasm.
Cons: There are a few unexplained and incomplete scenes that have little clarity.
Amongst the perfectly white townhouses, next to the Grand Union and Regent’s canals, lies the Canal Café Theatre, a small comedy venue above The Bridge House pub. The area around is so delightfully unique and un-London-like, it’s no wonder that people flock to this little venue in Little Venice. A leisurely stroll and tapas style food beforehand really do make this a wonderful part of the capital to go see some comedy.
And so it was here that I saw Wild at Heart, a not-so-ordinary double act starring crazy comediennes Roisin O’Mahony and Chiara Goldsmith. Whilst you may expect to see your usual stand-up comedy, this is something else: a concoction of bizarre, rehearsed scenes, including sudden outbursts of song, that apparently unintentionally, subtly poke fun at women and their behaviour.
Entering into the very warm and extremely cramped upstairs theatre, we were greeted by performers Roisin and Chiara, who were distributing Liquorice Allsorts and chalk candy cigarettes. With their matching bright white attire and Craig David pumping through the speakers, I was immediately taken back twenty years to the cheese of the 90s and indeed some fond, funny memories of that decade.
The comedy duo begin by reading out ridiculous reviews they have found on the internet about the venue. The weird and illogical sketch show then takes off with the double act bursting into random song and chit-chat. Roisin dresses as a bride in search of a lover, Chiara turns into a self-obsessed shrink and both become wittering Chelsea girls who can’t get a sentence out without saying, ‘hands down’ or ‘ye-no-wa-e-mean’. Audience members are called upon to hold the precious peanut and audition for the role of the ‘chosen one’ – it’s that odd.
The scenes come thick and fast, one after the other, most with very little connection. They are each as wild and weird as the other, and seem to make very little sense. In fact, had this been an improvisation then perhaps the randomness of everything would have made more sense, but since it’s rehearsed, at times it does just feel like two friends doing weird stuff together. Undoubtedly, this couple have got great chemistry and bounce off each other very well, but I personally felt it wasn’t free enough – after all the show is called Wild at Heart.
There are some very comical moments though: when the two stuff balls of wool down their tops you can’t help but have a good chuckle. And the first couple of minutes of marshmellow-spitting gossip does make you laugh. Unfortunately, the scenes are either too quick and are built up only for nothing to happen, or go on far too long. The music plays a crucial role and runs almost constantly alongside the performers, adding an extra ounce of humour with Craig David and the Biker Grove theme tune being the star tunes.
Wild at Heart certainly is an unusual show and with some polishing, it could really be something. As it stands, however, it needs more development. The show is travelling to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival in August and will be part of the Free Fringe, so if you do have a spare hour this August and you’re in the Scottish capital then it’s definitely worth a visit. But be prepared, and make sure you come with an open mind. If you’re looking for traditional stand-up, then this isn’t the show for you.
Written and Performed By: Roisin O’Mahony and Chiara Goldsmith
Booking Information: See Wild at Heart at the Edinburgh Free Fringe until 28 August 2016.