FLO AND JOAN: ALIVE ON STAGE | London, Soho Theatre

British musical comedy sister double-act Flo & Joan have rocketed to YouTube fame in recent years with their surreal, deadpan songs about environmental and societal issues. Bringing their latest live show back to an absolute home crowd, Flo & Joan live offer an amazingly fine-tuned, word-perfect set that frequently puts Flanders & Swann to shame.

An all-purpose song about marriage, designed to keep up with demands to perform at friends’ weddings, becomes a bleak list of upsetting statistics about divorce. Performed in their inimitable style, with more than a little musical sentimentality, the result is hilarious and timely.

Some songs are just good old-fashioned word-smithery patter songs: a song about “Carol the cracker-packer” invites audience participation — we cannot keep up with these sisters’ amazing tongue-twisting dexterity. “Flo” (real name Nicola Dempsey) has done her musical homework, offering some brilliant cabaret piano. “Joan” (real name Rosie Dempsey) blends vocals in harmonies with her sister that sound like one voice. She also shakes a cheap, plastic egg shaker.

Some spoken asides, reading out “fan mail” (usually from men, usually sexual, usually hideously inappropriate), and their responses, is an extremely enjoyable addition to the parade of quick-fire songs. The only criticism anyone could have about this live show is that they leave us wanting more: 50 minutes is simply not enough.

Join Flo & Joan every month at Brasserie Zedel (Picadilly Circus, London).

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