Banana Split: A Stand-Up Comedy Showan aptly named show at this year’s Fringe considering it is quite literally a stand-up comedy show that is split in two.
Taking place in The Wee Room of The Three Sisters, the aptly named show also takes place in an aptly named room, specifically because the room is, as the first comedian of the afternoon Niamh Curran called it, a karaoke room. Tiny.
There are certainly better places to be during a heatwave, but in the hands of these two comedians you’ll quickly forget about the heat (granted the massive fan in the room does help).
The show kicks off with Niamh Curran who warms up the crowd for both her and her partner’s sets, asking the names and occupations of audience members. Things get off to a hilarious start when she happens to speak to a festival programmer and a critic back-to-back, a situation which she uses to jokingly slump under the pressure, but really it is clear that she takes it in her stride.
From here Niamh smoothly integrates the audience answers and general interactions into the show, turning them into ongoing jokes throughout her 30 minutes, showing off impressive improvisational skills in the process.
Throughout her set there are moments in which Niamh relies too heavily on audience participation, pointing out moments in which the crowd fails to “aww” or “ooh”. This can be slightly jarring and often takes away from the pacing of her set.
However, for the material itself, Niamh has curated an impressive 30 minute set that includes the, not-so-impressive inventions, that have come from Northern Ireland such as the Titanic and the DeLorean, as well as the logistics of getting cast as ” wine wench #2″ in Game of Thrones. The material, though certainly adult, feels light but with a political overtone at times. It is a set that ultimately settles you in, feeling more like having a laugh with a friend at a pub rather than watching a comedy show.
After the first 30 minutes the second performer of the afternoon enters the stage, Louisa Keight. Right off the bat Louisa is full of energy, rattling through a series of jokes but always feeling cool and calm, not rushing it.
Louisa focuses less on the audience participation, letting it come naturally along with her jokes.
However, whereas Niamh covered an array of subjects in her set and focused more so on stories, Louisa seems to stick to a more confined set, sticking to short anecdotes about her upbringings and boyfriends.
That is not to say that her material is not lacking; Keight brings a series of laughs within her 30 minutes, including a particularly funny sequence about men’s gooches and a great joke about dating men who are trying to quit smoking.
Louisa Keight and Niamh Curran do both have room to grow as comics but they make one hell of a double act. Niamh’s comedic style working as the perfect warm up for the audience to settle in to and Louisa’s confidence and energy making for a perfect closer to the show. Overall, keeping the crowd happy throughout and creating a show that is certainly not a waste of your time.
Louisa Keight and Niamh Curran perform at The Three Sisters until 14 August.