Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Massive Dad 2.0: Step Up 2 Massive Dad, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ashley Davies
AS STEVIE Martin, Tessa Coates and Liz Smith bounce on stage, we are given a computer game-style introduction about each one’s strengths and weaknesses, but rather than having their combat specialities summarised for us, the focus is on their acting abilities such as accents and entrances, and some lovely examples from each. Immediately we know we’re in safe hands with these three engaging, naturally funny women who work together with warmth and fluency.
This energetic, well-paced show is packed with properly hilarious, inventive sketches, highlights of which include them trying to mimic facial expressions laid out in a storyboard, and over-privileged young film-makers trying to pitch a period cop drama – Rocket and Honk – with little understanding about the era in question.
One of the most successful sketches, a pastiche of the kind of ridiculously sensuous food advertising that targets women, involves the group having a high-level discussion about crisis management in a tense geopolitical region but being rendered swoony and helpless by the appearance of products such as yoghurt, chocolate and coffee. While the subject matter of this particular material is not wildly original, the strength of the performances and ease with which they have the audience convulsed throughout prove these women have some very special talents.
It’s also refreshing that while a lot of their material is written and presented through a female lens, and a lot of it could only have been written by women and will be better appreciated by women, it is done so with a light touch and will have universal appeal. One example of this is a job interview sketch during which we hear the thoughts of the three women involved, two of whom become distracted and judgemental about the fact that the interviewee is wearing a brooch.
Instagram culture gets lampooned too, though perhaps less successfully, in a sketch about envying the visual glory of a meal presented to a dining companion.
Scene changes between sketches are handled slickly; music, dance moves and well-edited multimedia combining to produce a fabulously fun package.
A huge amount of this trio’s appeal also lies in their likeability – even during the odd moment of corpsing they’re impossible to resist, and it never feels self-indulgent. It’s going to be fun watching them progress.
PLEASANCE DOME (Venue 23), until 31 August, 6:50pm.
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
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