Venue: 32 Below
As a half-bustling Fringe draws to a sunny close, it can start to feel like comedians are telling the same jokes about their ages, sex lives, and Oedipus complexes. White Chicks 2, a pair of stand-up sets starring the very not-white Alex Bertulis-Fernandes and Sharlin Jahan, seeks to buck the trend. Their work-in-progress show does this well, the two performers bringing new perspectives to oft-discussed topics, all in a uniquely funny way.
Bertulis-Fernandes and Jahan are engaging as a double act. Jahan is the more excitable of the pair, bouncing around the stage expressively and demanding audience attention. Bertulis-Fernandes has a more laconic style but no less control over her material. After a brief introduction, we’re into the show, and once we pass a slightly stuttering start things only get funnier.
Both elicit plenty of laughs throughout the night, although it seems Bertulis-Fernandes has a better handle over her half of this work-in-progress than her partner. Jahan, however, seems more at ease with the audience. With that said, during the first half Bertulis-Fernandes expertly deals with that most common of stand-up bugbears: a drunk man who thinks he’s hilarious.
She proceeds to take us through a variety of macabre topics in comic fashion, interspersing jokes about her depression with ones about her romantic life, linking the two in darkly humorous ways. The gags come thick and fast, and before the audience knows it Jahan is leaping on stage. Her bounding energy is well-harnessed, especially in the slightly hairier bits where notes are being checked. Here, Jahan’s banter keeps it light, making sure there are some giggles instead of radio silence. She is quickly back on track, covering taboo topics in a frank and funny way to a delighted audience.
While the show is still a work-in-progress, it’s clear the two comedians have been honing the set throughout their Fringe run. The acts are both practised enough to get around the issues that are present during most WIP shows, and the material that’s completely whetted is excellent. Even the slightly underworked bits clearly have promise, and still make the audience titter. Having two Brown, female comedians (or ‘unicorns’ as Bertulis-Fernandes and Jahan refer to themselves) on one bill is near unheard of, but if White Chicks 2 is anything to go by, it might not stay that way for long.
Run ends Aug 29, 17:15
Image credits: Alex Bertulis-Fernandes