Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Rewind the Fringe

Following my reviews of the livestreamed shows of Alison Spittle and Shaparak Khorsandi at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, I have sought a bit of a comedy kick.

I was delighted to make the most of my reviewer access to the NextUp Comedy platform to sample a few more shows chosen in the Rewind the Fringe package of titles available this week.

Here are quick capsule thoughts on ten shows that ran this year.

Promotional image for Not My Finest Hour

Not My Finest Hour by Alexandra Haddow took place in the Pleasance Courtyard Bunker on “Black Wednesday”. Haddow might have done a lot ‘wrong’ in her life, but what she has done right is writing a show about it.

She gives a fast-paced, chatty show to an intimate crowd on topics like sex, social media, and looking back to your 20s. Her set is funny, quirky, and tongue in cheek about celebrity journeys and personal accountability.


Promotional image for Is This Okay?

Is This Okay? by Annabel Marlow is full of jokes and music in her solo debut, which played at the Pleasance Courtyard Attic. With more than a vibe of Victoria Wood, Marlow’s set is about love, attention-seeking, and more than a bit of cuteness.

Marlow’s earlier association with smash-hit SIX gives a clue she is related to that show’s composer Toby Marlow (she is their younger sister). Clearly blessed with the family musical gift, she shares a range of songs in a setting that feels relaxed and rather sweet.


Promotional image for Avital Ash Workshops Her Suicide Note

In Avital Ash Workshops Her Suicide Note ran at Monkey Barrel this year, and fits well in this large space with a welcoming crowd. As an American queer Hasidic Jew whose mum killed herself, Ash has a lot of trauma to draw on.

This isn’t a doomfest, though, but a black comedy expertly navigated and full of wisdom. So, the workshopping of the note is funny, but there’s a lot more here. It is a complex show that has a lot going on if you dig deep about cultural norms and generational clashes.


Promotional image for Off-Brand

Off-Brand by Bronwyn Sweeney is a debut show in Pleasance Courtyard’s Bunker Three from the Funny Wonen finalist. It’s about branding, with the flipcharts we all dread from corporate life, part TED talk, and part therapy session.

Taking inspiration from creating ads no one wanted or watched, Sweeney looks at personal marketing and branding from a slightly cynical perspective, working the crowd and heading into a four-point plan to do yourself justice.


Promotional image for Heist

Elf Lyons has featured on this site before, and in Heist she teams up with Duffy to create a show which is certainly different, as Elf speaks and Duffy doesn’t – there is Visual Vernacular (VV) and British Sign Language (BSL). As Duffy says, “I sign, Kieran speaks, you listen.”

Playing at Monkey Barrel Comedy, Heist is supremely confident and uproariously funny. The clowning is perfectly timed, the chemistry between the two performers is clear, and this is a smashing piece of storytelling from two comics at their peak.


Promotional image for Divadom

Turning to Divadom from Flat and the Curves at the QueenDome, this team brings us a cabaret of songs about sex and sisterhood. Great vocals and impressive gowns characterise this show, which will appeal to Fascinating Aida devotees.

X-rated and smutty, but with more than a touch of class, this quartet (Charlotte Brooke on the piano, Arabella Rodrigo, Katy Baker and Issy Wroe-Wright) are sassy, stylish and staggering talented.


Promotional image for It Ain't Easy Being Cheeky

In Freya Parker’s It Ain’t Easy Being Cheeky at the Pleasance Courtyard’s Baby Grand, the topic is being cheeky when it’s “raining trauma”. Parker is half of the sketch duo Lazy Susan, and a middle-class Northerner (“I grew up equidistant from a chemical factory and a prison”).

This is a likeable, polished show that revels in the bizarre but feels a little bit slow in its pacing at times and doesn’t have roll in the aisles laughter. Parker rocks a ‘cheeky guy’ persona but perhaps is hiding just a bit behind it.


Promotional image for Money Princess

Money Princess by Mary O’Connell in Pleasance Courtyard’s Bunker Three is directed by Elf Lyons and is about shopping, money and pop culture. It’s an assured hour’s comedy from an experienced performer who knows her audience and engages effortlessly.

When you only care about money and success, how can you have a good time? And does working within the structure of capitalism really seem a sensible way to live your life?


Promotional image for Hear Me Out

Hear Me Out by Sikisa, at Monkey Barrel, is her second stand-up show to hit the Fringe. She’s a black, working-class, South London comic and has dyslexia.

How this experience shapes her life is explored in this amusing, witty, and fast-paced show, covering all the usual topics but in a style that benefits from the performer’s confidence and presence as she covers her childhood, career in burlesque, and being ghosted.


Promotional inage for Crying in TK Maxx

Finally, Tamsyn Kelly’s Crying in TK Maxx considers how men have shaped her life, from her estranged dad to her first crush. She chats constantly with the crowd, making this piece feel very friendly and approachable.

There are some dark moments here and the occasional skit doesn’t quite land, but this is a show with a lot of potential with many memorable lines and images you can retain in your head. Very middle-class London-centric, but that’s not always a bad thing.


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