Miranda Hart... throb
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
Character comedy from an up-and-coming comedy actress, formerly half of The Orange Girls double act. Miranda Hart-Throbs is in understudy rehearsals for a show - she is a wannabe, desperate for fame, but will she make it?
It's a hackneyed comparison to use for a female comic, I know, but Miranda Hart is very Jennifer Saunders. Well, Jennifer Saunders with a hint of Penelope Keith.
Wearing the same baggy T-shirt and headscarf as the Ab Fab creator dons in her 'at home' sketches with Dawn French, Hart similarly frets about her performance, and hams it up when she's the centre of attention. It's so close it's almost a tribute act.
This mix of sketches, character and stand-up is cleverly realised. The idea is that Hart, an understudy, is running through a dress rehearsal and we, the audience, are figments of her imagination.
Thus she can interact with technicians and the director between sketches they are supposedly rehearsing, and soliloquise when she's left alone on the stage.
These stand-up sections are easily the weakest - sub-standard observations, a bar-room gag about an inflatable school and a recurring joke about the household hints found in women's magazines that are surely beyond parody, thanks to Viz.
Sketches are patchy - but always neatly done, even if Hart's range only extends from Cheltenham to Rodean. A school reunion skit is easily the best, producing some cringeingly inept faux pas - though it could have done with being a minute or two shorter.
Hart is best, though, when interacting with the other characters - an insecure, sexually confused director, a safety-obsessed techie and the nervous work experience girl - producing some fertile comic friction.
These running gags help make the whole a great deal more than the parts, thanks also to some neat callbacks and some likeable unscripted banter.
An enjoyable hour, with some nice surprise, but essentially nothing new.