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Being Julie Jepson

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

I’m not sure what the point of this show is – if ‘show’ isn’t too generous a word to describe a mix of aimless compering, lightweight banter and ‘…and that was when they asked me to leave TopShop!’-style reveal gags.

Julie Jepson is an enthusiastic and likeable presence, even in a sparsely populated room, and she leads an amiable chat. But chat is all it is, as we meet everyone in the audience and learn their name, where they come from and what they do for a living.

As an MC, I’m sure she does a fine job, but in these circumstance it’s just filler between material that doesn’t exist. Where are the jokes, the stories, the point of view, the attitude, the reason for spending 60 minutes here rather than at any of the other 2,000-plus shows on the Fringe? Being affable and confident just doesn’t cut it, but there’s the distinct feeling that she’s relying on that, spending very little apparent effort writing material.

For a show entitled Being Julie Jepson, it’s thin on the autobiographical. She’s a lesbian, single, 38, living in Brighton and works with kids with challenging behaviour. You’d learn as much from her Facebook info panel than almost an hour in her company.

She has one good joke about using ‘toys’ in her sex life – which isn’t a good strike rate for someone five years in the business. Mostly she relies on the sort of throwaway lines you’d barely think worth repeating, such as turning to the audience during a bit about bra fittings and asking: ‘Know what I mean… Stan?’ That she gets the best laughs from recycling a few old pub gags (which she does acknowledge as such) is telling.

This isn’t a show you’ll hate – as there’s really not enough of it to hate – while she is so upbeat and animated you easily warm to her. But it’s just so inconsequential that you may well end up wondering why you bothered. After all, she barely did.

Review date: 7 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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