Lazy Susan – Forgive Me, Mother! 4/5*
Critically-acclaimed sketch comedy duo Celeste Dring and Freya Parker, also known as Lazy Susan, bring their new Edinburgh Fringe show Forgive Me, Mother! to The Box at George Square Theatre.
Lazy Susan tackles the climate of unease around predatory males in the media by turning it on its head in this slick new sketch show. Forgive Me, Mother! is a dark, clever and smartly structured addition to the Fringe slate, which will keep audiences thinking long the final bow, photo op and murder. Using comedy sketches, Lazy Susan address themes of male brutality and societal paranoia. What if women are the ones committing atrocious acts? Does it make it better? Worse? The same? There’s a surprising amount to think about here.
Based on the above, it’s hard to believe the whole thing is so consistently hilarious that I genuinely felt oxygen-deprived after Lazy Susan’s hour was up. It absolutely is. I laughed until it physically hurt at some sketches, notably a French woman written by a man who has never met a woman and two hilariously drunk twenty-somethings trying to avoid being hit by cars.
What really impresses however is how well Lazy Susan use running gags and characters so the show comes together for a delicious climax. Forgive Me, Mother! is constantly leaving seemingly meaningless clues in sketches and amping the pressure until Freya’s paranoia becomes our own. The climax interweaves a number of seemingly throwaway details and ties the loose ends together with finesse, with murders, revenge and unusual eating habits all coming into play. I did say it was dark.
Like any sketch show, some sketches will feel funnier and more relatable than others, depending on the audience member. Some of Lazy Susan’s standalone sketches, which do not advance the overarching story of the show, do feel like a drag at times. It’s also more often the normal and every day sketches, rather than the fantastical, that elicit the biggest response: the way the portray friendship – and a certain eccentric mother – is great, relatable humour.
I was personally not sure about the opening to the show, which sees Celeste and Freya dance in wearing overlarge wigs to perform a bizarre rendition of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. It is both oddly terrifying and funny, which I suppose fits the tone of the show, but I’m not sure what it was trying to do apart from be a substitute for the coffee or drugs one might not have had at the 4.20pm show start time.
What Lazy Susan has achieved with Forgive Me, Mother! is relevant, gutsy and polished comedy. It is dark, and hence might not to be to all tastes – but stick with it and the payoff is absolutely worth it.
~ review by Susy Brett