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Edinburgh Festival 99 Tuesday, 24 August, 1999, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Mel and Sue: Out to lunch
Mel and Sue: Reminiscent of a sixth form revue
By BBC News Online's festival correspondent, Matt Grant

Mel and Sue: Back To Our Roots
Pleasance

The title Back To Our Roots implies Mel and Sue have returned to the city and festival responsible for making them famous in order to give something back.

But at the end of their hour-long show you are more likely to be left with the impression they are simply here to cash in on their minor celebrity for as long as they can.

Edinburgh Festival 1999
Mel and Sue on stage is virtually the same as the TV incarnation, except they don't have any guests. The result is a show made up of material that feels as though it was intend to fill gaps between interviews.

The running gag is Melanie Giedroyc's inability to maintain any accent for more than a few words. Sue Perkins, the dark haired one, ribs her mercilessly about this over and over again. Sue is nasty to Mel a lot, in fact, going as far as showing a particularly unflattering picture of her after she has had a wisdom tooth removed on a slide projecter.

Sue Perkin (left) and Melanie Giedroyc: Stage presence but little material
Unfortunately for Sue - whom, you suspect, genuinely believes she is the talented and attractive one in the partnership - her own stage voice leaves a lot to be required. Half the time, her projection was so poor only the first few rows caught what she was saying.

But even when she could be heard, it was scarcely worth the bother. One joke about being desperate for sex could be funny. By the fifth time around, it seems, well, desperate.

An ode to a cigarette is equally hardly groundbreaking and it is not amusing either.

All that said, Mel and Sue do possess something. The same qualities that led first Channel 4 and now ITV to sign them guarantee them a strong following, especially amongst teenage girls and female students.

Yet while some of the capacity audience at the Pleasance were clearly thrilled just to be in the presence of their heroes, the overall response was well short of ecstatic.

The Fringe remains in need of more strong women comedians, but Mel and Sue are letting the side down with their weak material. In the end, you left with the impression you had just seen a sixth form comedy revue that had somehow escaped.

See also:

13 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
13 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
13 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
16 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
17 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
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