wed 19/06/2024

Lazy Susan, Soho Theatre On Demand review - sketch duo's ingeniously plotted show | reviews, news & interviews

Lazy Susan, Soho Theatre On Demand review - sketch duo's ingeniously plotted show

Lazy Susan, Soho Theatre On Demand review - sketch duo's ingeniously plotted show

Freya Parker and Celeste Dring examine male behaviour

Freya Parker (left) and Celeste Dring deliver a show where all becomes clear in the clever denouement

You may have seen Lazy Susan's excellent BBC pilot last year; now a series has been commissioned from Freya Parker and Celeste Dring so we can look forward to more sketches, surreal interludes and tiptop visual gags – as well as returning characters including Northern lasses Megan and Michaela, tottering on their heels to a night out where they “don't want any drama”.

In Forgive Me, Mother!, their most recent stage show, they make a slight departure from previous work as they allow their stage personas to come to the fore, while establishing a very funny narrative through their wide array of characters and interlocking sketches.

They tell us at the top of the hour that this is “just a bit of lighthearted fun”, yet there's an undercurrent here. This show doesn't have an agenda, and is certainly not about gender, they joke – but of course it is, a work created in the #MeToo era. And, despite the safe space they say they have created at the Soho Theatre, Parker, the nervier of the two in contrast to her partner's more no-nonsense approach, becomes increasingly worried she and Dring are about to be murdered by a man in the audience.

That makes it sound serious, but it's not. It's playful and funny and each sketch, each sight gag, each throwaway line builds to a wholly unexpected denouement.

Their sketches satirise how women have been portrayed by male writers and directors in cinema, who just love whimsical Amélie types: “Dance with me, Thomas! Dance with me in the rain!”, says a fey Dring, and their Hollywood musical spoof, complete with rapid-fire dialogue and clipped Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn accents, is given very sweary modern dialogue.

While men's behaviour is ostensibly under the spotlight, women are examined too, as in the standout sketch about “sexy girls with a catch” – for instance, a gorgeous-looking woman who is cruel to her boyfriend's child when he isn't in the room.

They go dark, too – and just about pull off the sketch in which Parker and Dring are two rapists bonding with touchy-feely mutual support while waiting for their next victim – but then it's back to the straight-up comedy with Megan and Michaela, Parker's mother interrupting with phone calls to her daughter, while sisters Stacey and Natalie talk us through their food delivery service for fussy eaters: “Cherry tomatoes are a no-no – it's the way they explode in your mouth. It's a bit scary.”

Dring's flirting with a bloke in the audience, meanwhile, at first seems hack but, as with everything in the show, there's more going on than at first appears – and all is revealed in the very clever and subversive finale.

It's playful and funny and each sketch builds to a wholly unexpected denouement


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters