Rosie Wilkinson What's Wrong?
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
New character comedy. Discover what's wrong with Rosie, with you and with everyone else.
There's a lot of well-crafted, finely-observed character comedy on the Fringe, but sadly Rosie Wilkinson, for the most part, doesn't fall into that category.
Her creations seem to be based more upon the accents she can do, rather than offering an insight into the lives of the people she's depicting.
The theme of the show is simply 'things that are wrong', but since that's pretty much all comedy, it's hardly that restricting although it does provide the excuse to use a children's book to give a strong, fun visual thread in the pauses between monologues.
Her characters include a menopausal divorcee who goes clubbing to ward off depression, a vague middle-class woman feigning spirituality through the latest trends and a foreign language teacher who witters on about her labia and clitoris in French.
For the most part Wilkinson seems to be describing her characters, rather than understanding them. The upshot is that they are too shallow to hold the attention, let alone being saddled with a script that provides few opportunities for laughs.
There's a hint of redemption towards the end, however, when she unveils a couple of more surreal characters. Because they are not grounded in reality, the shortcomings in fleshing them out are less important.
So the Anne Robinson-style teacher trainer who starts exhibiting bizarre feline tendencies or the shy interviewee devastated by nerves are much easier to accept as simply odd characters, even if we still can't get to grips with their inner workings.