Laura Lexx and Sara Barron

Five Stars

Komedia, Brighton, Tuesday, July 10

JUNE and July is always the toughest time for a comedian.

Most are hurriedly getting prepared for Edinburgh Fringe with a hectic run of shows to make sure their set is as perfect as it can possibly be.

This year however, is a little different.

Not only do comedians have to deal with the same hectic schedule, but they also have to put up with the fact some shows may be a little deader than others due to the World Cup, especially when England have been playing.

The trick is to not let it get to you.

Some Edinburgh previews are simple, elegant and refined, some are jittery, stalled and tough to sit through and sometimes you find a show that is to the point, fantastically delivered and a gem to watch.

The latter of these is exactly what you got sitting in the Komedia’s intimate Studio Bar watching two expertly funny women in Laura Lexx and Sara Barron as they hone their shows ahead of the Fringe, but to be honest not a lot of honing is needed.

In a way it’s very apt that these two should be paired together given the content of their shows – one is about trying, the other is more about can I be bothered to try, and both work beautifully.

“It’s my depression and I’ll laugh about it if I want to.” That line alone tells you all you need to know about the show Laura Lexx is about to deliver.

In The Argus last week she talked about the show, how it centres around her battle with depression and how she wants people to be able to laugh about something they never thought they could find funny.

She hit the nail on the head 100 per cent.

What follows is an hour of comedy that is as moving as it is comical.

Despite the odd “aww” in the crowd, this show is not Laura looking for sympathy.

Speaking French, avoiding gluten and buying an extremely fertile fish are all subject that pop up in this show – don’t ask me how, you’ll have to see for yourself.

“Trying” is a comedy show that proves a point, fights a stigma, and will have you in fits of laughter.

This is a ferociously strong woman taking a stand against her demons, putting them on show for the world to see, and showing that it doesn’t make her any less human.

Equally strong, and equally funny, is Sara Barron.

She hails from across the pond, but has been in the UK for just over five years now, and she already claims we’ve sucked all the American positivity out of her... good work team, she’s one of us now.

Most of Sara’s show involved content that I absolutely cannot publish because of its crude content.

As much as I’d love to delve into the depths of what her show has to offer, I have to remember this is a family friendly paper.

What I can tell you is that it involves the greatest achievement of her life (it might surprise you), her two-year-old child – those are two separate things which is why the former may surprise you – and the greatest proposal of all time.

There’s also some fantastic audience participation as a woman in the crowd by the name of Jennifer is asked to read Sara’s “play”, which she wrote when she was 13, with a protagonist also named Jenny.

It’s not so much a play as a poorly written version of something you might find way down your list of TV channels, but it’s utterly hilarious none the less.

With Edinburgh Fringe around the corner it seems like both these women have their shows pretty much nailed.

I just hope they bring them back to Brighton once the run in Scotland in over.

Jamie Walker

Rainbow Shakespeare:The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Five Stars

Highdown Gardens, Worthing, Tuesday, July 10

FOR their second offering this summer Rainbow Shakespeare have chosen to eschew one of the well-known plays, instead opting for one that will be unfamiliar to many.

It deals with themes of friendship and infidelity, conflict between friendship/love and foolish behavior of people blinded by love.

Valentine and Proteus, friends from childhood, love the same woman, Silvia. There is treachery as Proteus manages to get his friend exiled in order to claim the maid for himself.

In the meantime Julia, his first love, pursues him to Milan in the guise of a boy. After much ado the play ends with Proteus repenting his actions and seeking forgiveness from Valentine and Julia.

Once again Nick Young’s straightforward direction and the cast’s clear speaking allow the complexities of the plot to unfold in an understandable way.

Joshua George Lawson’s Valentine is a paragon of honesty and virtue who woos with true passion. Sylvia, his love, possesses the same qualities but in the hands of Claire Seller there is not a trace of priggishness, rather maturity that allows her to reject Proteus’s advances.

After last week’s shrewish Kate, Alexandra Parker delivers a far more gentle performance as the wronged Julia. There is wonderful comedy in the scene with her maid over a love letter.

In contrast to the goodness of the above characters Proteus is a cad, a serial seducer prepared to betray his best friend. It is hard to accept his instant repentance when caught out but Ross Muir manages to convince.

Despite the dark issues comedy abounds. A highlight coming from Launce, a clownish servant, and his dog Crab.

Simon Pennicott wrings out every ounce of humour from the part aided by clever canine puppetry.

Peter McCrohon delights as the foppish Thurio particularly with his falsetto singing in Who Is Sylvia?

Barrie Jerram