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Comedy Fringe

Fringe 2022: Banana Split Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In the aptly named ‘Wee Room’ at Three Sisters, Niamh Curran and Louisa Keight take to the stage in Banana Split for an hour of clever and assured stand-up comedy. Both comics are alumni of Cambridge Footlights and bring with them a confident stage demeanour, putting the audience at ease despite the tiny cramped room and poor air conditioning (what Curran refers to as the ‘karaoke-themed sex dungeon’). There is an audible performance going on next door, and Keight jokes that as a result they have a vested interest in the show tanking so it becomes less noisy for their audience.

The show is structured into two halves, with Curran taking the stage first. She discusses growing up in Belfast, the place where the Titanic was built and ‘where everyone has PTSD, but no one is dealing with it’. Her liberal Catholic upbringing forms the basis for much of the routine, which left her with ‘all of the guilt and none of the morals.’ There is a funny section about Curran’s minor cameo in Game of Thrones, as well as dating moronic English men with bizarre sexual fantasies in regards to Northern Ireland’s sectarian past. Keight is up next, and opens with a good joke about Liverpool and the Beatles – both of whom ‘lost their most commercially-viable asset in the 1980s’. She talks about her posh upbringing and moving to London, where toddlers are increasingly being dressed like business-people. The close proximity of the ‘Wee Room’ to a show for kids next door means that Curran has to run quickly back into the room and slam the door shut as a line of children walk past whilst Keight is describing the intricacies of what exactly constitutes a ‘fem-dom.’ 

The act is perhaps flawed by its slightly odd format. Both comics are funny and likeable performers who build a good rapport with the audience, but as a consequence it feels a shame that the show is split into two. The limited time prevents either comedian from developing a more structured or cohesive routine, and so instead we are rushed through a fragmented series of, mostly very good, jokes and stories. Curran and Keight also seem to enjoy a good on-stage relationship and, alternatively, it would have been interesting to see them explore this dynamic more instead. Nonetheless, it is an hour of well-crafted and intelligent comedy by two impressive young performers.

Banana Split – 15:45 on the 14th of Aug at the Wee Room at The Three Sisters

Press Image: supplied to The Student by the production company