Sisters made a spectacular Fringe debut last year with their critically acclaimed Sisters: White Noise, and return this year with the latest spin on their comedy sketch show in Sisters: On Demand. Anyone expecting two actual sisters (i.e. female siblings) didn’t pay close enough attention to the posters or flyers.
All their marketing material makes it clear that Christy White-Spunner and Mark Jones are male, and white. This is only worth a mention because the duo themselves bring it up fairly quickly, they’ve recognised that there are numerous white male comedians at the Fringe and they want to set themselves apart. They succeed, not just by their name but the quality and ingenuity of their comedy.
White Noise was a tech and multi-media inspired show, utilising Facebook streaming as a basis for their bewildering array of sketches. They’ve carried on with that streaming concept with On Demand, capitalising on the popularity of Netflix.
As an audience we’ve been invited to the product launch of a new streaming platform, as White-Spunner likes to call it – “Sketchflix”. The sketches are always the same but each show is unique (probably) because it’s the audience who get to choose the order in which they are performed.
The sketches themselves are a bizzare blend of wacky characters arising from everyday events; think getting an eye test or going to the Doctor. But there’s a more sinister side in what is becoming the Sisters trademark mix of humour and dark satire, there’s a good balance though, meaning each sketch can appeal at some level.
A running gag about it being 2016 was almost on the money, with some of the material from last year being heavily recycled, including the Bad News and Orphanage sketches. It’s a winning formula though, with Christy as the stooge to Mark’s eccentric whims. The multi-media element does give the show a little something extra, with the projections and live action coordinating perfectly, and there’s even an unexpected plot twist which went down well with the audience.
The Sister’s razor-sharp wit gets their message across without having to force it, and the audience choice is an innovative touch that should keep each performance feeling fresh. What really makes Sisters: On Demand work is the relationship between White-Spunner and Jones, who clearly have a close bond, an almost sisterly love/hate relationship which creates fantastic moments of comedy, perhaps Netflix should think about snapping them up while they can.