7 – 29 August
2115-2215, Gilded Balloon
Ladies & gentlemen: there is a comedy double act on the scene you may not have heard of yet; one which deserves to rub shoulders – or perhaps ankles – with the greats.
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are a perennial Fringe favourite, and have brought their shambolic undergarment-based chaos to small, sweaty venues in Edinburgh for several years.
This year, they return to the larger (though equally sweaty) Sportsman’s Bar at the Gilded Balloon, with their hour of goggle box themed nonsense, On The Telly.
If you’ve seen the Socks before, you know what to expect: the stage is empty, save for a ramshackle tartan puppet booth. Then, as the lights dim, the stars of the show appear: a pair of grey woollen socks with googly eyes and lolling tongues.
They then proceed to sing, bicker, pun, ad-lib, improvise, crack jokes, perform sketches and generally speed through the performance without stopping for a second to hitch themselves up.
So, we get them acting out a period drama (with impressive costume quick changes); singing songs about the World Cup (complete with obligatory vuvuzelas); performing the death-defying ‘sawing a sock in half’ magic routine: and much more inspired lunacy besides.
Yes, they do speak and sing in falsetto voices with Scottish accent – and at around a million words per minute. Non-English speaking audience members might therefore find themselves missing some of the humour – as would anyone not overly familiar with the depths of UK television the Socks sometimes plumb.
However it is to the credit of Kev F Sutherland (The Man Beneath The Socks) that, if one joke flies over your head, there will be another one along in a few seconds which will quite literally sock you in the face.
This year’s show has the premise of the Socks trying to impress ‘industry’ types who may be in the audience. If there are indeed any TV talent scouts out there, they could do a lot worse than giving this hilarious and witty knitted duo their own primetime slot.
Although it’s unlikely they would be co-starring with Fern Britton…
Ticket information is available on the Gilded Balloon website.
Review by Keith D