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Jessie Cave: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Marissa Burgess

For such a committed bookworm it's a bit of a surprise that Cave is beating the hell out of a tennis ball with a racket as we troop in.

We've been gathered together – some of us Cave recognises from our Facebook profiles – to unite under the nerddom of liking books. I thought it had become cool in recent years but judging by the sight of Jessie and the rest of the audience, it's still just us nerds.

Cave, resplendent in a lion T-shirt, big glasses and magenta hoopy earrings, welcomes us to the inaugural meeting of Bookworms United and proceeds to tell us a bit about herself. It's a persona that sits somewhere between fiction and real life, as if she's made herself the heroine of her own show. It's an apt persona to adopt to journey through the many books name-checked and dissected here,I ncluding kids' tomes and Andre Agassi's autobiography.

Back in the real world Cave starred as Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter films which will probably go some way to explain why the smallish room in the Underbelly is full on a weekday afternoon. Cave's stage is impressively busy; like a woman-child's room full of clashing colour, doodles and pattern; in front of which she plays out her unhinged alter ego. An alter ego who nurses an obsession with a largely disinterested bloke she met in a Kingston nightclub seven years ago.

She's ably joined in her madness by her put-upon assistant, her real life younger sister Bebe. Many of the highlights of the show are to be found in this double 'act,' the pair work fantastically together on a shadow puppet depiction of her obsession and a final song eulogising Stieg Larsson and his unfinished Dragon Tattoo books.

Elsewhere there are some lovely absurd moments, such as Aslan of Narnia fame's secret affair with Mrs Beaver in her youthful days before she settled for Mr Beaver.

Though the whole show is meant to be as chaotic as the tumble of colour that is her stage set, there are a few places where it doesn't quite gel, while a piece about Cave's mother's obsession, though surreal loses it's way.

Nevertheless it's still a promising debut and a fun, quirky, tumultuous hour.

Review date: 11 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess
Reviewed at: Underbelly Cowgate

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