Review: Sticky Biscuits

This review first appeared on the Ed Fringe Review website on 22 August 2015.

★★★☆☆

Whoever it was that said German comedy is no laughing matter has clearly never seen Sticky Biscuits on stage. Berlin duo Naomi Fern and Marc Seestaedt have put together a rock solid comedy act, a lean, witty and hugely entertaining forty-five minutes of music, which frankly deserves a much larger audience than its small Cowgate venue is likely to allow for. The show’s billing as a set of nerdy and naughty songs is not inaccurate, but rather undersells the sheer charm of these two performers and their skill at playing a crowd.

Both musicians sing while Fern plays the ukulele (that most clichéd of comedy instruments) and Seestadaedt plays an assortment of Casio and Yamaha novelty toys. This outfit looks a bit tacky and silly to start with, but the pair demonstrate a genuine creativity and cleverness which means they’re able to create genuinely brilliant comedy out of such a basic setup.

The songs themselves are generally lovely, quirky and filthy in equal measure. Few performers could transition smoothly from a song about a zombie apocalypse/messy breakup to a song about fisting, employing the whimsical analogy of a sock puppet. It’s this willingness to combine the sweet and the smutty which makes Sticky Biscuits such a unique act, with particular highlights including songs about gentrification and unrequited love, and a song detailing the Sad Reasons People Get Into Particle Physics. This is hugely witty, shocking stuff, but the pair carry it all with such grace that what could have been simply crass and horrible becomes charming and almost genteel.

It’s not a flawless show; the songs are all very similar in tone and style, and there are places where the show feels at risk of feeling pretty samey. There were a few technical shortcomings as well, with sometimes lengthy periods of faffing about between songs as Seestaedt swaps between plastic novelty instruments. The act sometimes feels a bit disorganised, with the closing of the doors being an odd stumbling block at the beginning of the show.

But these are nit-picks in what is otherwise an utterly charming little show. At about forty-five minutes this is a lean and efficient show which brings a few nice ideas to the table and doesn’t outstay its welcome. A solid little show of the free fringe, Sticky Biscuits are a cheeky comedy act with a wonderfully dirty streak. Well worth a watch.

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