Riverside Conservative Club, Cardiff, Sat 25 April
This hilarious comedy-duo will be heading to Edinburgh this summer but stopped by Riverside Con’s club, much to the delight of everybody fortunate to enough to be invited.
Beth Granville played Felicity; a disillusioned tax dodging ex-city worker. While Cardiff’s own Gemma Layton aka Mercedes Benson (a Youtube hit), plays Julie; Felicity’s complete opposite with a reputation for stalking and the criminal record to prove it. The audience are told from the start the unlikely couple have a ‘friendship forge on hard times’ after meeting in prison. We were taken on a journey through flashbacks of their early day encounters. With Julie’s working-class grafting and Felicity’s cunning, the couple spending their days obsessed with ‘penny pinching’ while dodging the law.
Each scene was executed with superb timing. The pair clearly having a strong performance chemistry with one another, so much so it makes you wish you could have been a spy on the wall while they were creating the show, or at the very least, want to have a pint with them afterwards.
In turn, Felicity and Julie read aloud the ridiculous money-advice inquiries and responded with even more absurd solutions. One sketch consisted of using a mobile phone without having a mobile phone due to lack of funds. This leads to Julie casually flicking through photo albums in the middle of a pub; paper shredding, replying to letters mid-conversation with a friend and (much to the delight of all the Smartphone-game lovers) literally crushing fruit on stage. Audience members held their sides from laughing during this sketch in particular which poked fun at the obnoxious habits we all take for granted, as having unlimited access to information at our fingertips has become the norm even during a time when we cannot afford the distraction.
The advice line was intermitted with a ridiculous raffle that satirise the absurdity of the ‘great offers’ and terms and conditions on popular money-saving websites. Pointing out how easily one can waste time and money on things you never really needed, such as a trip to the Croc’s factory or a group bikini wax! All in the name of a great bargain.
The use of well-placed songs – including a hilarious modern upgrade of Common People and the disillusioned- jingle, Benefit Street – had the audience swaying. The witty tongue-in-cheeky tax dodging song, gave great insight to the spectrum of the wealth in Britain today while dealing with the issue of entitlement on both sides of the fence.
“Living in the modern-age, with a 1970’s wage” seemed to be a line that really resonated with the arty audience who’s agreeing hums lingered. Perfectly timed it was a fun, but smart reactionary piece to the disproportionate spread of wealth in the UK.
Though often exaggerated for comic purposes, the suspension of disbelief in most of the situations was not that great, sending a chill certainly down my spine.
With probably the first standing ovation a Con’s club has ever seen, rather than getting irate these ‘Cash Crusaders’ used their undeniable wit and talents to create something that engaged the minds and touched the heart and funny-bone of every person in the room.
words SINNEAD ALI
Flick And Julie: Pop-Up Penny Pinchers, Buffalo Bar, Cardiff, Sun 7 June. Tickets: £8 / £5 adv. Info: www.buffalocardiff.co.uk