Tania Edwards | Review by Steve Bennett
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Tania Edwards

Review by Steve Bennett

Tania Edwards shows off some sharp, smart one-liners here, but the hour as a whole is sluggish and uneventful; feeling like a comic treading water, slapping on the most cursory, gratuitous wisp of structure on to an over-extended club set.

Early on she mentions, almost in passing, being late to meet a fellow comic for a lift to a gig. Forty minutes later she picks the story back up, as if we were desperately wondering what happened, to describe the subsequent, terrifying high-speed drive to the show – although it’s ambiguous whether this is fact or fiction. The conclusion: that she’s felt as if she was hurtling helplessly towards her death in that journey - just as she feels she is doing in her life. Do you see? It’s a clunky and half-hearted analogy.

Much of the show is about feeling that, in her thirties, it’s time to settle down with her ‘almost-fiance’, a decision that she makes sound largely financial, since he’s secure and she’s a feckless low-earning comedian. Indeed, there are lots of indulgent in-jokes about the realities of the job she loves.

She has a natural poise on stage, and adds some moments of looseness with audience banter. She is easily distracted, though, put off by the man fanning himself with her flyer, or catching someone out of the corner of her eye and observing: ‘I like your cap!’ to little consequence. But she later finds laughs in quizzing people about their relationship status.

Her strongest material comes at the start, when establishing her persona, and apologising for her posh received-pronunciation tones. It’s tightly-written, with a strict pattern of set-up, punchline that rewards in joke count what it costs in varied tempo.

Perhaps ware of this, she relaxes the writing, just as the pace threatens to become monotonous, but a lot of the later, longer routines seem peculiarly underdeveloped. Her dissatisfaction with an Agent Provocateur purchase, for instance, seems heading for a strong payoff which never really comes,making it closer to a minor customer service issue than comedy gold.

With the skills she’s got, the show should feel more assured than it does. A case, perhaps, of ‘doing Edinburgh’ because she feels she should – or because she can hang out with her comedy mates with whom she clearly feels a strong bond of community – rather than because she’s got a show she just had to share. Edwards has a great 20 minutes, but a plodding hour.

Review date: 11 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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