It might be odd to see PE kits on stage – and maybe even bring embarrassing flashbacks for some – but the plain white t-shirts and gym shorts are the uniform of choice for acclaimed sketch act Gein’s Family Giftshop. The trio of James Meehan, Kath Hughes and Ed Easton – aided and abetted by Kiri Pritchard-McLean, who was also the support act here – have carved out a niche as purveyors of dark sketch comedy, and this compilation of the best bits from their past two shows displayed just why they’re so highly regarded.
With inspired sketches about breaking bad news, imaginary friends, and dancing to The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’, the three-piece meld influences such as the delicious darkness of The League of Gentlemen with the violence and energy of The Young Ones for a heady mix of cleverness and filth.
In amongst the fourth wall-breaking and the knowing performance style, arguably their greatest asset is Easton’s gangly physicality – a ball of barely-contained, loose-limbed energy, it’s this kind of performance which perfectly underscored their approach to sketches, and it’s a strength they put to good use here. Also impressive was how they use Hughes as a knowing commentary on the group dynamics, a source of extra jokes at the same time as lifting the lid on the group’s singular process.
Overall, it’s a superb combination of excellent jokes and heightened performance – each of the three members contributing to what made for a hugely enjoyable set, and one which confirmed Gein’s as a force to be reckoned with on the UK comedy circuit. They’re a must-see live act, so you should catch them while you can.