Sian and Zoe’s Bubblegum Party

Throw enough comedic material at an audience and some of it is bound to stick, writes HANNAH MIRSKY.

sian and zoe's bubblegum party Sian Docksey zoe tomalin

Corpus Playroom, 9.30pm, 12th-16th February, £5/6

Do you remember at primary school how kids would douse loo paper in water and then chuck it at the ceiling to try and make it stick? Blobs thrown hard enough would stay there as a satisfying white bumps, but otherwise would just fall in wet globs on the floor. In Sian and Zoe’s Bubblegum Party, the audience takes the place of the ceiling, and have blobs of self-conscious whimsy chucked at us. Some are genuinely hilarious; some rather baffling. (Note: I appreciate this is an odd metaphor if you’ve never done the whole loo-paper-lobbing thing, but if that’s so I’d recommend trying it. It’s good fun.)

There’s an awful lot of stuff onstage throughout the show: Coke bottles, a hatstand, home-made posters (one of which reads, revealingly, ‘Meta as Fuck’), and a Dalek covered in tinsel. The Dalek isn’t even used except for when it’s pointed out, near the end, that it hasn’t been used. Even the set, it seems, prescribes to the philosophy that if you throw enough stuff out there, some of it’s bound to be funny. And there are indeed some very funny moments. A cameo from Flo Rida is very enjoyable, and the show is at its best when it satirises the conventions of theatre and television: there’s a marvellous take on grinning, patronising sex ed videos, and a parody of pause-heavy, pretension-heavy ADC shows.

Yet it feels like there’s a lot of superfluous whimsy: Victorian men called Tim; people made of toothpaste; the (rather mysterious) concept of a ‘Bubblegum Party’. I was uneasy when the two performers, Sian Docksey and Zoe Tomalin, started joking about stereotypes of ‘women’s comedy’, considering that they themselves were throwing candyfloss at each other and telling anecdotes about their attendance at the Academy of Whimsy. Not to mention creating a narrative about bitchy girl rivalries and exposing their own insecurities about female comedians being perceived as intimidating.

But then, very near the end, there was a song. And it was glorious. It was played on ukeleles (whimsy), dealt with the difficulties of finding a lover as a female comedian (self-consciousness), and made me, and the entire audience, giggle uncontrollably. I won’t spoil the lyrics for you, but this is a show that saves the best till last. It’s not necessarily a production I’d rave about, or insist you have to see, but if you’re into meta-whimsy (yes, that’s a thing) it’s bound to be enjoyable. If this were a primary-school toilet, there might be some loo-paper lumps on the floor, but the ceiling would be pretty covered in them too.