Review: The Travelling Sisters – Toupé

Infectiously fun Aussie song and sketch act

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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The Travelling Sisters
Published 07 Aug 2018

Endearingly daft Australian sketch trio The Travelling Sisters have returned to the Fringe with an hour that's physical, musical and gently yet defiantly surreal. Their opening song is a fantastical origins tale of sorts, recounting their Queensland roots but evoking their spirit animal deity.

There's an irony in the first sketch being about body confidence in a changing room, as one of the defining aspects of Laura Trenerry, Lucy Fox and Ell Sachs' act is their security in their underwear, be it as stripping lollipop ladies or their unabashed costume changes between skits on stage. The show's uninterrupted progress is sped on by their harmonious, if often nonsensical jingles.

With the humour seldom explicit, but emerging gradually and organically out of characterisation—a lovelorn cactus; a family country music act betraying pent up tension in every line; movement artistes reproducing an art theft—there's a dreamlike quality to it that washes over you. They elicit constant low-level chuckles with occasional spikes. Toupé doesn't suffer for eschewing big, obvious punchlines but the sketches do tend to simply dissolve away.

There are a number of individual set-pieces and Trenerry does some eccentric audience interaction as a precious child. Yet sparking winningly off each other, the Gaulier-trained trio are at their best in tandem, the finale their inexplicably funny signature routine where Sachs sings, mounted above her sketchmates in a single, billowing dress. Freewheeling and infectiously fun, we're fortunate The Travelling Sisters seem to be spending more time in the UK.