Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Growing Up Ringside

Mina Liccione performs her show Growing Up Ringside in the digital strand of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It’s a multimedia spectacular focusing on her New York upbringing as the daughter of an Italian-American boxing ptomoter in the 1980s.

With a hint of bronchitis driving her voice deeper, Liccione sets the scene of her childhood playground (“even the [car] horns sound like Al Pacino”).

This is comic reminisce, with lots of characters crackling through a sparkling stand-up delivery to an appreciative audience in her now home city, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

Growing Up Ringside of course refers to the boxing ring, but also hints at a life in the spotlight and as a female comedy pioneer.

Promotional image for Growing Up Ringside

A story which on paper has a touch of the bizarre and a sniff of the unbelievable, Liccione’s show is something to enjoy, with 3-D projections, animation, and a black shiny stage which would make a tap dancing Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell product nearly ninety years ago.

Now considered “Dubai’s First Lady of Comedy”, Liccione has an ear for both the unusual and the mundane, and can make both funny, effortlessly capturing their good and bad sides and their interactions with those around them.

A veteran of STOMP and rhythm/comedy consultant for Cirque de Soleil, Liccione displays her physicality throughout her show with her whole body as well as facial expressions.

Sure, you might not get the full impact of the projections watching this digital version, but director Ali Al Sayed takes care to mix middle and wide shots to capture all facets of the performance.

Like all good memoir pieces, Growing Up Ringside has moments that move as well as amuse (a section about her father’s music got to me).

An outstanding show.

You can stream Growing Up Ringside on demand throughout the Fringe: purchase tickets here.