Katy Wix (left) and Anna Crilly give Mini Cheddars a new lease of life in Penny Spubb’s Party
Weird of mouth
Two of the surprise Fringe debut hits have at least one thing in common: they’re full of really rather strange Characters. Brian Donaldson meets up with PENNY SPUBB’S PARTY and SEYMOUR MACE to hear dark tales of stuffed animals and imaginary friends.
20 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE W. ('5; Am; ;’(;t):',
he show. as the old cliche will have it.
must always go on. In Katy Wix‘s case.
she had to rise from the wreckage of a horrendous car accident for it to happen. Just eight weeks ago. her dad was pulling out onto a dual carriageway when near-fatal disaster struck. ‘A car just came out of nowhere and hit us at about 80 miles an hour.‘ recalls Wix. the dark- haired half of Penny Spubb’s Party. ‘We spun across the dual carriageway and through the barrier in the middle. My dad fractured his skull and I broke my collarbone and my sternum and my knees were a bit buggered. I'm still having physio. and just catne off the painkillers. It was a bit touch and go whether I would be well enough to do the Festival but after it happened. I
just thought more than ever. I really want to do
And what Wix. along with comedy partner Anna (‘rilly (the blonder segment). has done is create one of the most cunning. exciting and brilliantly original examples of a double-act sketch-show performance in a Fringe packed with the devils. But while the ones that have passed our radar have been trotting out knackered cliches about speed dating or tired news pastiches. I’vmrv Spit/)1) ‘s Party has a routine about Mini (‘heddars being stuck to spectacles to make someone believe that they're blind and a scene where the two personalities of (‘arol Vorderman (media (‘arol and maths Carol) are locked in a battle of wills until eternity. It's a prop-heavy extravaganza of ticklish terror revolving around a surreal party in which games
‘IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER IF YOU CAN'T JUGGLE OR RIDE A UNICYCLE, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THAT ESSENTIAL PATHOS'
such as bobbing for apples and musical chairs take on bizarre twists. ‘Shipping around that wheelchair was a real pain in the arse.‘ recalls Wix. 'Though it was quite a fun game to be sitting in it on the Tube and then standing up at our stop just to see people’s laces. That made it well worth it.‘
Over in the camp of Seymour Mace. some props have to be replenished after every show. In Imaginary Friends Ram/ml. we meet a tragi- comic character introducing us to a selection of his invisible chums. including a bad white rapper with murderous tendencies and a light entertainer with a line of very dodgy ‘impressionations'. The show is interspersed with video footage starring a bunch of Seymour Mace’s comedy pals (including Martin Bigpig) chatting about their own imaginary friends and the tears and traumas that can result in a reliance on such non—existent individuals. The climax is a truly hysterical spoof on The (I‘wm'ulion Game in which a series of bizarre gifts come along on a human conveyor belt. These quality items are taken home by a lucky contestant plucked from the audience.
()n the night I went along to see the show. the ‘victim' was a young girl frotn a family who had presumably come along attracted by the bright colours and child-like theme of the show. only to be tnet with a cast of true grotesques. 'We explained to them before the show that it wasn‘t really for children. but they were OK with i