Review: Beg, Borrow and Bitch

Work in Progress at The Union Theatre
Coming to Gilded Balloon (Bothy) at Ed Fringe 2019.
Jul 31 Aug 1-12, 14-25 – 10.30pm Book

“I don’t watch TV,” say a lot of millenials as they polish their halos and spiralise the next courgette. Of course, what they mean is that they do not own or live near a television. Instead, they have a MacBook on which they watch a load of Youtube and Netflix. However, as internet kills the television star so dwindles the glorious pastime of channel hopping. No longer do we spend our long nights flicking through all the free view channels to alight upon on that bizarrely compelling channel known as QVC. There, a number of hosts will enthusiastically sell a load of random stuff from the Silentnight Cotton Breeze Memory Foam Pillow to the Radley Silicone Strap Faux Tortoise Shell Watch. And it’s here that Beg, Borrow & Bitch begins.

Abbie Murphy and Ricky Hunt play Cindy and Cassandra, two fervent hosts of America’s number one feminist shopping channel, Two Faced Bitchin’. Through song and dance they sell us a number of classic items before discovering the show is being axed. So they must leave the cosy confines of their studio and make their lives anew in a world that doesn’t have much time for ex-shopping channel hosts. The show follows their attempts to make it work, sometimes together and sometimes apart. There are lots of funny moments, and Murphy and Hunt work well as a comic-duo. It’s a work-in-progress so a lot of lines got fluffed and a few times it wasn’t clear either actor knew exactly what was going to happen next (nor did the audience for that matter) but the chemistry between the pair was fabulous. Their choreographed dance routines always hit the mark and some of the off-script ad-libbing was actually great.

However, the show did feel like lots of shows in one. It was part sketch show, part riches-to-rags coming-of-age story, and part Smack The Pony-esque absurdism. I personally felt the background story was the weakest strand as it tried to tie down the humour, which needed to be cut loose and sent to even more absurdist places. Also, in many ways the show is an hour of two women being bitches, which doesn’t inherently constitute comedy and perhaps more time could have been spent problematizing the stereotypes on which the characters are based. Nevertheless, with more polish and a bit of fine-tuning I reckon this will make for a great show.

© R. Holtom 2019

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