by Laura Ferguson
Giggly Gertie’s is set up like a skit show, we open with a newly-created robot before moving on to a caveman art gallery, a teenage temper tantrum and a conversation between two mothers. This last one, was so hyper realised, I’m pretty sure Chris Parker must know a particular auntie of mine who behaves exactly how he acts. The broad, nasal accent, the interrupting conversation to check up on us kids scuffling around for food in the kitchen, a pinched, pursed look when conversation becomes too real. Mr. Parker, sir, your portrayal was genius. I laughed so hard, I had to clutch my friend’s arm for support.
This sketch is about the time that I realised the skits being presented are actually all connected, in a Taratino-esque non-consecutive fashion. It becomes apparent that the through-line is about the invention of Stef-fanny. An intelligent humanoid robot. However, the disjointed application of the skits mean the whimsical nature of the show is kept intact. By not following a linear path, we get to experience many different kinds of comedy. I know from the examples of characters given above they would not seem to tie together, that’s what I thought, and I was wrong. Even the caveman skit works in.
Now, let’s talk about that cavemen art gallery skit. One of my absolute favourite things, not just of this show, but the entire Comedy Festival: Two cavemen fight attraction as a migrating caveman takes time away from his tribe to look at some new cave paintings. The levels of hilarity were just above and beyond anything I expected. Sainsbury’s longing looks at Parker during this scene were so beautiful that I was saying “Aww,’ just as much as I was laughing. It takes the ever-funny pretentiousness of art galleries and merges with stereotypical jokes about cavemen, breathing new life into a genre I was pretty sure went extinct with Michael Cera and Jack Black’s 10,000BC. I would be ecstatic if Parker and Sainsbury announced they were doing an entire show of the before and after of this skit. I can’t iterate how successful this part was more than that.
Other beautiful performances were Parker’s adolescent paroxysms with his parents. I laughed at every moment, every articulation but Parker doesn’t go over the top, keeping it in the realm of believable. My favourite Sainsbury moment (and luckily, a recurring one throughout the show) is his portrayal of Stef-fanny. A robot who cannot say the name designated to her, ‘Stephanie’. Sainsbury’s shuffling foot motions, unfocused eyes, and stiff facial expressions were so brilliant and I love every minute Stef-fanny was on stage. Holy artificial intelligence it was funny.
Giggly Gertie’s was a romp through the amusing, albeit ridiculous story of a man who invents a robot. It is kept fresh and new by the segmenting non-serialised direction of the show. I loved every second and looked forward to seeing what Parker and Sainsbury had in store for me next. I would say Giggly Gertie’s could even upgrade their title to something like “Laughing Laurel’s” or more accurately, “Unstick-Me-Off-The-Floor-Since-I’m-Rolling-On-It Ursula’s”. I can't wait to see what Parker and Sainsbury do next.