REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival –The Scummy Mummies @ Corn Exchange 16th June 2022

Scum In The Corn Exchange

Andy Fawthrop

Well we’ve had plenty of music, chats and walks so far in the Devizes Arts Festival, so it was about time that a comedy monster raised its ugly head in our lovely town.  And, as they say, if you’re going to do comedy, best get out there and do it big.  And it doesn’t come much bigger, better and more well-known than the Scummy Mummies…..

For those who don’t know – Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn originally joined forces to become The Scummy Mummies back in 2013.  Since then they have gone on to produce an award-winning podcast, a popular book, and their own range of merchandise.  They have an ever-growing social media presence, with more than 160,000 followers on Instagram.  There are now over 200 episodes of The Scummy Mummies Podcast, and they have been downloaded more than 5 million times in 150 countries.  The show has featured in “Best Podcast” lists in The Guardian, the Sunday Times, and The Telegraph.  

So taking the next logical step to create The Scummy Mummies as a live comedy show, packed with sketches, songs, and top quality boob jokes, came almost as an inevitability.  In 2019 they made their Edinburgh Festival debut, selling out the entire 25-night run and earning a five-star review.

And last night, the show rolled into D-Town and, not to be outdone by some mere provincial town in Scotland, was a sell-out.  400 or so folks packed into the Corn Exchange.  I’m guessing that there were a lot of dads across town looking after their children, cowering in the darkness, and wondering about how exactly to load the dish-washer, since about 95% of the audience were of the female persuasion.  This was like the biggest prosecco-fuelled hen-party on earth.  The air was thick with the aroma from competing waves of oestrogen and HRT patches, and it was almost over-whelming to we few cowering, intimidated males who had dared to put in an appearance.  Make no mistake – this was a BIG girls’ night out, the WAGs moving en masse, and woe betide anyone who got in their way.

And of course, it was everything the crowd had been expecting – potty-mouthed sketches, observations and songs on all the obvious themes and targets – the failings of men, sex, childbirth, domesticity, parenthood, body issues, you name it.  Every target was greeted with loud hoots and cheers of recognition and sisterhood solidarity.  Subtle and sophisticated it was not – but it was absolutely, side-splittingly, laugh-out-loud, bloody hilarious.  Ellie and Helen were absolutely superb at picking their targets and (male) victims from the audience, riffing and improvising on familiar themes of failed expectations, can’t-be-arsed attitudes, and rapidly-waning interests in other things in life than wine and sex.  I almost felt sorry for poor Phil and Dave sitting up at the front.  But not very sorry, to be honest.  It was excruciating at times, yet never nasty or vicious, just deeply funny.

Musical mash-ups featuring ABBA, Cher, Love Island, RuPaul, and the Nineties were great set pieces, together with sketches about baby-books, hair waxing, the horny-versus-hungry dilemma, and the “beauty” industry.  But the best bits in my view were the observational stand-up sessions, and the games (“I have never…” and the “confession” cards), which were generated by the D-Town audience itself, and led to the best impromptu comedy from both women.  And finally the “scum-ometer” revealed the “scummiest mummy in Devizes”, and then we were done.  Huge, huge cheers and applause was the justified response.

I think (I hope) it’s probably safe for the chaps to come out now, but be afraid – very afraid!

What an absolutely fabulous night out – great entertainment, and two hours of belly-laughs.  Well done DAF for throwing this absolute gem into the mix.

The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town.  Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk 


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