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Holly Walsh: The Hollycopter

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Phill Gillespie

Who would have thought that jumping off Worthing Pier in a fake helicopter could go so wrong, yet end up so right?

Holly Walsh makes her Edinburgh debut almost a year to day of the fateful incident which shattered her arm and dislocated her shoulder while taking part in the annual ‘birdman’ event, in which various contraptions are employed in an attempt to fly off the pier. In Walsh's case, she was dressed as a damsel in distress being rescued by Rambo and escaping from a Nazi.

Everyone was cheering for failure and the inevitable drop into the ocean, yet when Walsh sandwiched her arm between the water and the frame of the helicopter, those cheers turned to shock.

Walsh then takes us through her journey of four days in hospital and then six weeks of recovery, at times unable to move and fend for herself. Thanks to her brother, she makes it through the toughest parts and to raise her spirits he shares with her the coverage from the national press. The unintentional media coverage and public comments provide some delightful moments of hilarity before we learn of the positives that have come out of the accident. Here we have the beauty of Walsh's message - simultaneously wishing that this never happened, but glad that it did.

Walsh's previous TV experience shines through as less than a week into her debut run she is confident and composed, expertly timing her set filled with photos, videos and PowerPoint gags. Her astute observational skills, including of the subtleties of the English language, provide a second wave of gags to support her story. Walsh has a bubbly and infectious persona that is complimented by abilities as a writer and performer. She has crafted a well-honed piece with a plenty of laughs, a satisfying story and even a joyous conclusion.

From this strong debut it's clear that while Holly Walsh may not be able to fly, she will go a long way.

Review date: 9 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Phill Gillespie

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