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Loretta Maine: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

I blagged a lift to Edinburgh From London; it took seven hours. People said it was a bad idea and a wet road led to us crashing just outside the city. I thought that'd be the only car crash of the month, but Loretta Maine proves otherwise as a fantastic wreck of a human being and a great comedy conception.

Loretta appears to be the love child of John Hegley and Amy Winehouse, complete with catchy chorus songs, a wine bottle, and mascara streaming down her face. A character of the incredibly talented Pippa Evans, she's cut from the same wood as Nick Helm and comes with a backing band that suffer needless abuse at regular intervals.

The characterisation is well done with an establishing segment involving a Q&A with the audience collectively shouting questions that are projected on to a board. For this show she's showing off her bipolar tendencies, as so many young musicians are, though it appears to be more a device to organise material rather than a focal point.

She's more musical than comedy, with songs that you could appreciatively listen to on the car stereo without risking a laughing fit. A talented performer, she maintains character even when speaking to a projected video of her grandmother that looks suspiciously like Loretta in a hat.

While the songs are iPod-worthy, the segues don't fare as well. The subject matter is limited with drunken antics, ex-boyfriends, violence, boob jobs, and a smattering of lowbrow cheap gags. It fits in with the character but an hour is pushing it and while the show entertaining and exceptionally well produced, the laugh count isn't exactly through the roof.

There are no take-aways from the show (apart from a large list of fried chicken shops) and the only things likely to stick with you are the catchy songs. If you like character comedians Loretta is a treat, if you like musical comedy Loretta is the icing and the cake. If you like neither, the laughs sustain the show but only just.

Review date: 8 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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