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The Topp Twins 

Will Coviello on the new documentary about the New Zealand comics The Topp Twins, Untouchable Girls

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As their corny stock characters Camp Mother and Camp Leader (see page 31), Lynda and Jools Topp entertain audiences at an Australian folk festival in The Topp Twins: Untoucheable Girls. Dressed in a horrendous strapless pink velour jumpsuit, Camp Mother tramps around the audience asking people where they are from while Jools fills time on the mic. "You know how to drive your wife crazy while you're making love?" she asks in an embellished New Zealand accent. "Call her up, and tell her where you are."

  Sort of a Laugh-In meets Indigo Girls act, Jools and Lynda Topp are immensely popular in their native New Zealand. The two began busking as a guitar-playing, harmonizing country and western duo, but they're naturally funny, even if their bits are schticky.

  The Topp Twins: Untoucheable Girls is a great introduction to an act, which on paper sounds like its own punchline: twin lesbian comics who yodel. For their TV show, they developed an array of comic characters including the male, rugby-loving, pub-dwelling buddies Ken and Ken (pictured), the dim-witted socialites Prue and Dilly Ramsbottom, and the frumpy Camp Mother and Camp Leader. They have a salt-of-the-earth charm and seem neither surprised by nor caught up in their success. The twins grew up on a farm, joke that they joined the army to get a free trip to New Zealand's south island, started busking on the streets, both came out as lesbians and were fixtures on the protest scene, standing up for Maori land rights, a nuclear-free New Zealand and equal rights for gays and lesbians. The documentary is a musical biopic and it has footage of their early days playing on street corners as well as a couple of odd guest appearances, including folk singer Billy Bragg. Even when you know you've heard some of their jokes before, the two are entertaining and, as a team, one of a kind. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Will Coviello

May 27

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

7:30 p.m. May 27-June 9 (except June 7)

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 827-5858; www.zeitgeistinc.net

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