Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human

I spoke to Jenny Foulds, sometime screen actress and now performance poet, back in May when she was preparing Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human for the Brighton Fringe.

Now, the show has just completed a run at Edinburgh Fringe, and I was very pleased to be asked to review a recording, having had this very much on my list to watch at some point.

Covering issues such as neurodiversity, coming out, the teenage years, drugs and club culture, and poetry, this show is run at breakneck speed through 48 minutes.

Born in 1980, sporting a Laura Dern t-shirt (because Jurassic Park), Foulds switches between storytelling, stand-up, and slam poetry to tell the story of herself in the 1990s and early 2000s.

If you’ve ever mused on whether Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses’s hair crossed with River Phoenix’s face would make the perfect woman, ot wondered how you can find things in your mind without guessing, this is the show for you.

Taking your first party pill, having the most public coming out as lesbian, holding the knowledge of the relationship between a cassette tape and a pencil, and your friendship with your gran, all this informs and educates in Life Learnings.

Promotional image for Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human

Foulds is a performer who makes remembering her lines and delivering her thoughts as easy as breathing. Her opening bit on how her brain doesn’t work as others do is brief, as the focus of this show is universal, of friends and growing-up.

I found the split between the poetry and the storytelling a bit forced at times, but I appreciated the rhyming dynamics and clever focus. This is a show from one nonsensical vuewpoint, and it works well.

Another show I saw this year, which utilised story and poems, was Home,Sweet Hell, which proves there is a market for this direct form of delivery. It is an interesting cloak for personal confessions while opening the door a crack.

Foulds is also a gifted observational comic, and she even makes the topic of her dad’s funeral into one of humour. It’s true that humans often react to grief in such weird ways, especially when situations feel awkward.

Whether recounting vivid dreams or recalling a comforting hug at 16 from a butch lesbian she met just once in a bar, Foulds can make her life relatable, her soft Scots accent tapping at the edges of her story in a way which leaves you watching.

Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human was at Edinburgh Fringe in Aug 2023.


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