Starting her career under the stage name Harpie, Susan Murray was a finalist in the Daily Telegraph Open Mic in 1997 and won the first Jongleurs new act competition the following year.
She first went to Edinburgh in 2000 as part of the Big Value Comedy Show, and returned in 2004 in a two-hander with fellow Brummie comic Karen Bayley. Outside Edinburgh, she has also performed her own solo show, Eternal Optimist, about her search for a partner.
Her writing credits include ITV1's Sketch Show and Radio 4 sketch show In Crowd.
Susan Murray Videos
Susan Murray: The Glottal Stops Here
Susan Murray took something of a sabbatical in the last year, having tired, as she says, of playing to drunken stags and hens. This is her attempt to cater for a different market.
A fine aim, butone she can’t help but immediately undermine by mentioning that she’s good at blowjobs and a common gag about predictive text calling someone a ‘complete aunt’. You can take a girl out of Highlight, but…
And for all the mentions of glottal stops and the great vowel shift, at its heart Murray’s Fringe debut is a glorified version of the affectionate regional teasing that you’ll see in clubs everywhere, but using local accents as the jumping-off point.
She starts with her own Black Country brogue. ‘You don't hear this accent on TV much,’ she complains, conveniently overlooking £6million ITV signing Adrian Chiles (though he makes an appearance later in the show) or even comedy’s own Frank Skinner. But research has shown that people consider anyone with a Brummie twang to be stupid, so she can get the self-deprecation out of the way first.
Thus begins a spin around the accents of Britain: the aggressive Glasgwegian, soft West Country and distinctive Geordie in particular. We get a brief lesson in how the dialects formed, then invited to do them, making her some sort of reverse Henry Higgins.
There’s not a huge amount of depth to anything – Russell Kane has more insight on social linguistics in a five-minute routine in his show than Murray has in an hour – but Murray has an enthusiastic energy and works the small room with great skill. With a rough charm that’s easy to warm to, she’s playful with her subjects and reads the room like a pro.
She’s prone to taking a few easy jokes: mocking street patios of the youth, imagining how shit CSI Birmingham would be or rephrasing an old Essex girl joke to reference an iPhone instead of a computer. But then there are some much sharper lines in here, too.
The finished show might not be bostin, but it’s an assured step away from the club set she has tired of, but making fine use of the audience skills that experience has taught her.
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