If anyone had peered over my shoulder as I jotted down notes after witnessing Beard: The Grin of Love, they would have thought I was a lunatic. The notes include phrases like ‘kissing ghosts,’ ‘tennis ball baby’ and ‘doctor notation with liquids.’ Beard are Rosa Robson and Matilda Wnek, a sketch duo with Lynchian aspirations. A good deal of the sketches are non-verbal; instead, they rely on physical clowning that can sometimes be ominous, at other times heartening. There is an unhurried, creeping quality to them, drawing laughs from bodily tics and facial expressions. It’s all very, very strange.
This will be a hard show to recommend to casual comedy audiences. Beard’s weirdness might be off-putting to some. A small amount of audience participation is involved, although Beard manage to make it inclusive and charitable, rather than embarrassing. The humour may be offbeat, and some sketches are freakier than they are funny, but when it all comes together it works beautifully. For all the oddness, I came out of this show feeling refreshed and invigorated. A bizarre Fringe classic. Be warned: the first couple of rows might get wet.