Review: Bryony Twydle: Flamingo at Underbelly Bristo Square

Bryony Twydle’s sketch show, Flamingo, is billed as a ‘chaotic collection of interconnected characters’ that unfortunately fails to come together.

The cast of characters that she plays range in nationality from American to Greek to British and while her accents and accompanying facial expressions are flawless, the content feels stale and overwhelmingly familiar, akin to watching the twelfth festive re-run of Little Britain on Dave when the best of the Quality Streets have already been eaten.

The show opens with Twydle as an aging QVC saleswoman punting bejeweled camel-toe guards and lamenting how women of her age are put to pasture. From there she morphs into a haunted yet hammy instructor on a speed awareness driving course and the audience interaction begins. Participants are pulled up on stage sporadically throughout the show to interact with her range of personas, displaying solid improvisational skills and a confidence rare in a debut show. Next, we encounter Hector, a plum-in-the-mouth public school child who no one has remembered to collect from school. Dim witted and pitiable, he is a character I have seen many times before. The character of his mother, an unhappy wealthy woman who ridicules her overweight friend and suspects her husband is involved with the nanny, is similarly clichéd. By the time we get to the Midwestern face of apple sauce and suspected arsonist, Twydle’s grip on the room has sadly been lost.

The final sketch reprises Hector in a synchronised swimming sequence. This is the most original material in the show and garners some genuine laughs. The show ends with Hector bizarrely doused in fictitious apple sauce, tenuously linking the act with the one that came before it and symbolising the jerky and disjointed nature of the show as a whole. Twydle is undoubtedly a talented actor and that is clear to see throughout, but unfortunately this hour lacks an imaginative spark.

Bryony Twydle: Flamingo, Underbelly Bristo Square, 8-27 Aug (not 15), 8.30pm 

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