June 1st, 2008


Kissing Cousins at Ipswich Wolsey Studio

Kissing Cousins are a comedy country music trio who first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2007. They came to Ipswich as part of the Pulse Fringe Festival on the evening of Sunday, 1st June 2008. Their show is as much a play as it is a concert. Directed by Flick Ferdinando, the three performers wrote the songs. Caroline Carter is the notional leader. Curvy and striking in her black and red cowgirl costume, her character is a little too eager to win the audience's affection, and having quite serious marital problems with her inspirational husband Jim Granger. All this interplay is watched with bemusement by John Nicholson's dim hick, Gary Peacock. The two men play guitars and banjo while Caroline plays percussion. Their songs purport to be drawn from their own life and from their fans and people who have met the gossipy Caroline. Much of it is fiction but there are moments of obvious truth among the gags. Part of the fiction is that Gary is a new replacement for an ex-member with whom Caroline may have been adulterously entangled.

A series of passively aggressive negotiations between the spouses frame most of the songs and many songs are accompanied by economical and carefully crafted slide shows that undermine their message by being delicately off the mark. A song about appreciating pigeons has a slide show including increasingly unattractive specimens. Less than a third of the way through the one hour set I was helpless with laughter and the wit came from many directions: the lyrics, the performances, the 'business', sight gags, irony, and sheer silliness shared between all three performers.

As far as I know, their next gig is at the free Big Day Out Festival in Bracknell on 12th July. They are worth a trip.