Victory Flaps offers a night of funny songs and transatlantic whimsy from comic duo Flo and Joan. Their repertoire is broad and varied, with a slight drinkies-based undertone, replete with on-stage G&Ts and taking on topics from boozy brunches to a thirst for Justin Trudeau.
Flo and Joan comprise Nicola and Rosie Dempsey, British sisters who take their stage names from their gin-slinging grandmother and great aunt. The pair have spent the last two years honing their craft in Chicago and Toronto, training with outfits like Second City, iQ and Bad Dog Theatres and featuring at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Their return to the UK also marks their Edinburgh debut.
This dedication shows in a highly skilful and inventive set. I’m not sure if they’re doing the Ant and Dec ‘thing’ of always appearing in the same order, but Nicola sits on the left on piano and harmonies, also delivering a hefty measure of dry retorts, while Rosie sits to the right on lead vocals and percussion – usually an egg shaker, but also other novelty devices that provide a laugh in their own right.
The opening number is a strong one, a sort of manic spin on the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ attitude, and the quality doesn’t let up from there. Their lyrics are deft and incisive, skewering their targets mercilessly but with a cheery demeanour. I liked especially a folksy take on yah-yah gap year students travelling in South East Asia, filled with elephants, drugs and knowing asides within the number (“yes, this song is still going!”) – all underlined with a great payoff at the close.
There’s also an interesting contrast between their British heritage and North American experience. They recount an amusing story about Canadians mistaking the term ‘finger buffet’ for something rude, and thereby reading a little extra into their song on that topic; but equally, they manage to shoehorn in for the British audience a primer on a disgusting-sounding Canadian cocktail, which gives essential context to explain the punchline of a later tune.
Clever and accessible, good-natured but sharp, Flo and Joan sets up and maintains a feel-good vibe that even they succumb to. The pair’s repeated corpsing during an ambitiously slow number was carried by the crowd, and in fact helped set up the gag they were building towards. Victory Flaps is a triumph of lyrical creativity and sororal camaraderie, to which we can all raise a glass.