Beehive (3 stars)

Beehive

E4, Wed 3 Dec, 10.30pm

COMEDY

The phrase ‘all-female sketch show’ shouldn’t necessarily send a shiver down the spine, but it just does. And before anyone says Smack the Pony I’ll trump you with Tittybangbang. But maybe things are changing. After a good Fringe for female sketch gangs Angry Puppy and Lady Garden, comes Beehive with Alice Lowe, Sarah Kendall, Barunka O’Shaughnessy and Clare Thomson, a show which thankfully ignores jokes about menstruation in favour of riffs on male masturbation and largely bypasses the standard genre fodder of impersonating celebrities. When they do mimic the famous, it’s with a quartet of Russell Brands sifting through the bins or a spot-on slap across the face for Sex and the City. And flame-haired Sarah Kendall was simply born to play Elizabeth I.

Live comedy does about as well as female sketch shows on the box these days (ie there’s barely any of it on and what does get broadcast is generally shabby) but in the hands of someone like Chris Rock, how could you go wrong? Seamlessly segueing three performances from his recent record-breaking world tour in London, New York and Johannesburg, Rock gives us his own take on dangerous buzzwords, gender imbalance and the US election: his observations are still on the money even in this post-Obama victory world. The shifting between venues and outfits often in mid-sentence can be distracting and cause the viewer to feel somewhat travel sick but with material alone, this preacher stand-up proves that there are few who can touch him in today’s live comedy arena.

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