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Review: Come Laugh with Us at 53 Two ‘has amazing depth, and is beautifully unique’

Come Laugh with Us is an evening of comedy written by women for women and it follows the wonderful Vignettes at the Hope Mill Theatre, which I was lucky enough to see recently.

Similar to Vignettes, Bricks and the seasoned JB Shorts, this is a real pick ‘n’ mix, as you get the chance to see six short comedy plays.

Sophie Galustian is the Emcee and opens and closes the show, and she is engaging and coaxes the audience and warms them up with her Stockport references, takes on sexuality, the Daily Mail and other observations.

First up is the frank and funny Oh God written by Chloe McLaughlin, starring Kelsea Knox and directed by Lucie Jowett.

Knox is one hell of a performer, as she delivers this marvellous monologue about a young woman, navigating living with a flatmate who seems to have it all.

As we get to know this character more, we find ourselves immersed in her life. She confronts you with home truths about the way women are perceived, as she talks you through her sex life.

But this is not sanitised and this is not Carrie Bradshaw typing not her laptop on a New York window ledge, with some whiny voiceover.

Kelsea Knox brings Chloe McLaughlin’s witty and honest home truths to life in such a brilliant way, that I could have watched this all night in a longer form. An excellent start.

The Boudica Support Group by Hilary Strong, starring Gemma Nutall, Angela Heenan and Becky Kershaw, directed by Kitty Ball follows.

And when it first begins, it feels as if we are going full-on Hocus Pocus and you might expect feisty women and laughs a plenty.

Set in Roman times, this is an interesting take and there are some funny moments.

The three actors work well together and it is good to see something a bit different to the norm.

But for me, this does not quite catch fire in the way that I hoped, as it feels far longer than it is, mainly because the plot goes around in circles.

Everyone’s favourite pop diva Beyonce is blaring out of the sound system, and the audience begins to sing the lyrics to Naughty Girl.

You are immediately caught up in the world of Cowgirls in Heaven by Ifeoma Uzo directed by Bronte Appleby and starring Ifeoma and Tasharelle Jones-Hoyes.

And this is because the writing hits the spot and you feel as if you know the two lead characters.

They are in an overpriced club and dancing their butts off.

One is more willing than the other, as they know these evenings often go past the point of no return, and end up as a car crash of a night.

Ifeoma and Tasharelle are both bloody brilliant, they have a natural chemistry and they know how to deliver funny lines with a bang.

There is something genuinely free about their performances, so you feel as if you eavesdropping in on their conversations.

Beneath the farcical nature of this piece is a tale of two women who are logical family members, they know each other inside out.

And one is afraid of losing the other, once they are married and their life as Single Ladies is no longer in sight.

Jeanine and Jessie by Megan Hickie on paper looked like a winner. It is directed by Cherylee Houston who did a fine job with JB Shorts recently. It stars Beth-Lily Banks and Sarah White, and both of these are great at comedy and in particular, that key thing – comic timing.

It also helps that Megan Hickie has just finished writing a sitcom, so she knows how to write the funnies.

In true short play style, a step mum has some news to break to her stepdaughter.

But little does Mum know, there is news waiting to be broken to her too.

This a fabulous short, as the performers have a natural easy way with each other and you believe their plight.

The writer gives them a back story through the breadcrumbs she drops at your feet and it means you identify with them and that you know beneath the drama, lies warmth and the fact that they are both going to be okay.

Angela has one of those memorable performances which sits with you. Tilly Sutcliffe plays a Girl Guide leader who has a cruel and annoying nemesis, who she has tried to reason with to no avail.

Charlotte Small’s writing takes many twists and turns and you don’t always know where this one is going and sometimes it’s sweet and other times sour, and that gives it depth for such a short play.

Tilly Sutcliffe is a performer who can draw you in and shock you one minute and make you laugh out loud the next.

This one is aided by superb direction by Michelle Parker which allows you to buy into the concept, and see behind the Girl Guide badges and ‘dog eat dog’ approach to getting them.

Mothers and Daughters by Paris Rogers is the last play of the night.

It is directed by Kim Burnett and stars Karen Henthorn, Isabel Ford, Stacey Harcourt and Skai Cody.

And this is a good one to close this ferociously funny evening.

Rivalry amongst two mothers on the surface, leading to a recognition that they are like two peas in a pod is a pretty straightforward concept but it works. And due to the performances and the way these four all work together in synch, you are left laughing right until the end.

Each member of the cast knows how to deliver comedy, but seeing Karen Henthorn go full-on funny mode, following her heart-breaking turn in Bricks at 53 two recently highlights her versatility superbly.

Come Laugh With Us features naughty girls, funny women and the odd dark twist.

But ultimately it celebrates the fact that sisters can and are doing it for themselves on stage, in a way that makes you laugh out loud.

Come Laugh With Us is at 53 Two until 27th May and tickets can be booked here.

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