The Fringe’s favourite Salford-based comedy trio, Gein’s Family Giftshop, are back as a duo for the third instalment of their infamous sketch show. Bringing more of their deliciously dark and twisted brand of comedy, Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 3 proves another stroke of genius from the rising stars of live sketch comedy.
“For an evening of murderous, sick comedy, look no further than this”
Since their last outing as a troupe, Gein’s Family Giftshop seem to be one comedian fewer, with James Meehan AWOL, taking a break from the group. However, Ed Easton and Kath Hughes, the remaining performing members of the troupe, seem to have coped with the obstacle exceptionally well, continuing to produce high-quality sketches seemingly unfazed by the absence. In Meehan’s place, to “make up the numbers” they quip, is an allegedly LAMDA-trained actor, known only as Adam. Watching over the sketches in an eerily calm manner, Adam is used to great effect, adding some great cultural quips: “It was the campest Lear I’ve ever seen” he offhandedly quotes in a sketch. It’s more high-brow than the Family Giftshop’s usual style of humour, proving somewhat hit-and-miss, but the constant bullying and belittling of Adam from Easton and Hughes quickly brings the show back down to earth.
Aside from a slight temporary change of line-up, much of what we’ve come to know and love about the Gein’s Family Giftshop remains the same. Pitch black humour underpins every sketch from dead parents to amputated limbs to murdering the audience. It’s an acquired taste, and not for the faint-hearted, but, once acclimatised to the visceral subject matter, it does prove incredibly funny. With a few sharp political points hidden away for the keen eye and a clever, if not slightly extraneous, overarching gimmick, this third volume is choc-a-block with jokes both great and small.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of Gein’s Family Giftshop however, is their ability to merge a natural thought progression with sketches. There is no distinct intermission or pause between sketches, instead a constant chain of thought runs through the show, dipping in and out of scenes without warning, proving at times a little disorienting, but on the whole, thoroughly refreshing. There’s very little theatrical fakery and irrelevant nonsense here. It’s lean, and to the point. Gein’s Family Giftshop are here to make you laugh with sinister sketches, and they’re not going to waste your time with anything else.
The Gein’s Family Giftshop are back, and are on their usual excellent form, despite missing a member. For an evening of murderous, sick comedy, look no further than this.
Pleasance Courtyard, 2nd – 28th August, 22:20
Image: Drew Forsyth