Edinburgh Fringe 2000 (59)
Edinburgh Fringe 2001 (316)
Edinburgh Fringe 2002 (354)
Edinburgh Fringe 2003 (376)
Edinburgh Fringe 2004 (422)
Edinburgh Fringe 2005 (415)
Edinburgh Fringe 2006 (547)
Edinburgh Fringe 2007 (668)
Edinburgh Fringe 2008 (733)
Edinburgh Fringe 2009 (773)
Edinburgh Fringe 2010 (927)
Edinburgh Fringe 2011 (963)
Edinburgh Fringe 2012 (1022)Edinburgh Fringe 2013 (740)
Melbourne 2005 (26)
Melbourne 2006 (29)
Melbourne 2007 (31)
Melbourne 2008 (36)
Melbourne 2009 (36)
Melbourne 2010 (56)
Melbourne 2011 (36)
Melbourne 2012 (46)
Melbourne 2013 (57)
Misc live shows (204)
Montreal 2004 (6)
Montreal 2006 (10)
Montreal 2007 (15)
Montreal 2008 (17)
Montreal 2009 (17)
West End run (14)
See Less »
Gadd and Winning: Well, This is Awkwarder
Gagging for Attention 2012
Gareth Morinan Explains How Ricky Gervais is a 'Mong' for Cutting Gareth Morinan Out of Life's Too Short
Gareth Morinan Presents A Wilmops Good Improv Show
Gareth Morinan Presents the Saturday Debates
Gareth Morinan: Truth Doodler
Gareth Richards: Introvert: Never Been to Disneyland
Garrett Millerick: Sensible Answers to Stupid Questions
Garrett Millerick: Which One's Fergal?
Gary Coleman: And Still Rarely Wrong
Gavin Webster: Bill Hicks Wasn't Very Good
Gay Straight Alliance
Gearoid Farrelly: Turbulence
Gemma Arrowsmith: Defender of Earth
Genevieve Swallow is Sharing
Geoff Cotton and Anna Dawson: Light Relief
Geoff Norcott Avoids a Double Dip
Geoff the Entertainer
George Ryegold's God-In-A-Bag
George's Marvellous Medics 2012
Gerry Howell: Glorious Invention
Giacinto Palmieri: Pagliaccio
Giant Talking Cat
Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek: All New Show 2012
A Good Catholic Boy
The Good, The Bad & The Irish!
Google | Complex
Gordon Southern: A Brief History Of History
Graham Whistler: Stand-Up, Fall Down
Grainne Maguire: Where Are All the Fun Places and Are Lots of People There Having Better Fun?
Graters: Julian Ignores His Friend And Talks To A Pretty Girl
The Great Big Comedy Picnic 2012
The Great Puppet Horn
Greg Proops Podcast: The Smartest Man In The World
Greg Proops [Edinburgh 2012]
Gregory Akerman: Swedenborg, The Devil & Me
Guilt & Shame: Up All Night
Guy Manners: Manners Costs Nothing
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Gemma Arrowsmith: Defender of Earth
What would you say to save mankind from obliteration?
You'll probably never have to think about it. But Lucy Raven did.
Lucy is ordinary. She has an ordinary job, an ordinary life and very ordinary hair. But Lucy Raven is probably the most important human being who ever existed. She doesn't know it yet but she's about to save the world.
Join comedian and actor Gemma Arrowsmith (Charlie Brooker's How TV Ruined Your Life, Vic Reeves' Ministry of Curious Stuff, half of Mould & Arrowsmith) for sketches and characters in an hour that could mean the destruction of mankind.
Gemma Arrowsmith: Fringe 2012
Featuring somewhere in the region of 50 exquisitely drawn characters, Defender of Earth is an impressive calling card for Gemma Arrowsmith’s acting prowess. As half of sketch duo Mould & Arrowsmith, she’s delivered a series of geeky, intellectually flattering Fringe shows. But this compelling and intricate one-woman narrative engages the heart as well as the brain.
After a none-too-original, but well-executed, spoof of Hollywood trailers, featuring a defiant Florence Nightingale battling war, disease and sexism, Arrowsmith, with an affectionate nod towards Star Trek, establishes her ‘humanity on trial’ storyline.
A call centre drone with no opinions, a useless degree and an unused gym membership, Lucy Raven is completely unremarkable, a self-deprecating slight on her creator but otherwise so average as to make no impression on the world whatsoever.
Yet it’s precisely this averageness that makes her of interest to a superior alien life form, The Jury, who as judge and booming prosecution too, suddenly demands that this mediocre Everywoman defends humanity against charges of barbarism. Drawing upon a fair amount of exposition to get to this point, Arrowsmith nevertheless keeps her tale pacey and the plot’s pot boiling.
Her failure would result in annihilation of the species, so the scene is set for argument and counter-argument, Arrowsmith bringing to life a rich gallery of the exemplary and the less so. Fleetingly, these include the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, Steve Jobs and Cheryl Cole, the latter re-imagined as rigorously challenging the pseudo-science behind her hair product commercials.
In a similar vein, there’s the beauty contestant who resists the bimbo stereotype with a dense, existential argument for why she’s participating in the competition. Generally though, this is about as broad a spectrum of civilisation as you could conceive, including an aggressive, spoilt child, a self-help guru con-artist, a monstrous career woman and a braying pack of desperate publishing executives. One of the more memorable portraits is a touchingly wide-eyed depiction of Laika, the first dog the Soviet Union blasted into space.
Elsewhere, the snapshot of a troubled child packed off to boarding school and a succession of Raven’s brutally critical teachers suggests an intriguing glimpse behind Arrowsmith’s own adolescence. Capable of calling on a dizzying array of accents and leaping between characters with smooth, subtle shifts in mannerism, this is something of a masterclass from a likeable performer who’s never so actorly that she can’t break the fourth wall every now and then to grumble about the difficulty of crafting a particular scene.
Her script would benefit from considerably more gags and you watch rapt for long sequences without laughing. But The Jury’s intimidating starchiness is gradually and amusingly undermined and there’s a deft satirical swipe at recent television output in the UK. Best of all are some lovely, nerdy in-jokes about consumer technology, in particular a running jest about e-publishing developments that Arrowsmith sustains with ingenious wit and admirable commitment to her conceit. When posterity comes to judge her, she’ll be able to look back on this promising solo debut with pride.
|Date of live review: Sunday 26th Aug, '12|
Review by Jay Richardson
No comments are currently available for this show.