Review: Flo & Joan: Alive on Stage

Comic duo's songs finally reveal some grit

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Flo & Joan: Alive on Stage
Published 13 Aug 2018

Flo & Joan's opening song welcomes the audience, outlining their desire to be as inclusive as possible. But the joke here is that they're not as liberal as they appear, instead reeling off a list of personality types and behaviour misdemeanours that could lead to exclusion. The contrast between the piece's lighthearted performance and the tartness of their accusations neatly encapsulates their comic conceit, and so sets the tone for the rest of the show.

But it also highlights their limitations. While the targets of their bile (Crocs wearers, for example) are likely to be shared by their audience they're also of a kind that can routinely be called on to garner a laugh. The world being presented in the songs is one we can all recognise, but it stubbornly fails to challenge the audience or take in topics that might lead to unexpected areas. They introduce each song via scene-setting exposition, but this renders the show rather disjointed, jumping from one topic to another. Their responses to online abuse they've received hint at a desire to challenge trolling, but this too is presented mildly.

It's only towards the end that something more biting is revealed, as two songs offer a pleasing bitterness. The first methodically unpicks the romance of marriage. And in the show's climax they finally let rip, delivering a routine that is both unexpected and yet logically arises from what has come before. Here's hoping that in the future they'll embrace such grittiness more readily, adding some bite to their routine.