In a Fringe Festival full of weird and crazy things, it’s almost refreshing to sit down to a good old-fashioned sketch comedy show. Annie Lumsden and Lena Moon in their first outing as a duo prove to be so good at it, that they make it seem effortless.
This Is Our Pilot is about two friends pitching their ideas for a TV show to an invisible “Mr Big TV Man” but it’s really about poking fun at TV shows and friendship. The theme song from Friends is playing as house music. (what is the sudden obsession with this long extinct sitcom?) There is quite a nostalgic vibe to the sketches, like a cross between Fast Forward and Big Girls Blouse, where a lot of them would sit nicely. The great thing about mainstream TV is that it’s a shared cultural experience. Even if you don’t watch Love Island you know what it is because you have seen the adverts or cross promotions or heard people talking/joking about it and so Annie & Lena can do a sketch knowing that we will all get the joke of it, which they set in Greek Mythology with the girls playing Sirens.
Sketches send up Gardening shows, game shows (Millionaire), Marie Kondo (“Organise your Shit”), Queer Eye, a music show which is used to introduce a song about working in a café and café culture on the Ukulele played by Annie and Sunrise and its dreadful advertorials. “Blend Her” was a particularly hilarious advertorial send up using real portable blenders on stage. A highlight for me was “Toilet Roulette” which was a hilarious disgusting dissection of a social taboo, demonstrating how terrifying public toilets can be.
The pair have a lovely rapport and perform brilliantly as a team. Annie tends to be the Straight person / person in authority and Lena the 2nd Banana / silly one. They prove that classic comedy tropes can still work and even manage to make a fart joke that feels fresh. Under all the accessible, charming silliness is an obvious politically awareness that remains feminist while also exploring how female relationships can occasionally be toxic.
I needn’t say ‘hit and miss’ because you can say this about any sketch comedy, including Python. The laugh rate for This Is Our Pilot is impressively high. This is a very strong debut and is recommended to any Mr Big type TV People out there looking for new up and coming comedy talent.
Annie Lumsden and Lena Moon perform This Is Our Pilot at The Coopers Inn til Sept 27