Alexandra Haddow

Alexandra Haddow

Alexandra Haddow: Not My Finest Hour

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Alexandra Haddow is a personable comedian of innate poise, unfussily drawing audiences into her confidence with a relaxed, engaging demeanour which belies a precision about what she wants to say.

While her winning personality goes a long way, Not My Finest Hour often feels undercooked, with her charm and conversational approach buying her extra time between punchlines as she covers the usual topics for a debutant: where she’s from, family background, old jobs and dating history.

On this latter topic, she has a specific angle. In what she describes as the worst thing she’s willing to admit to: a decade ago, she had an affair with a married, very minor celebrity, who, at 43, was 18 years her senior. She remains largely superficial about what it meant to be the other woman beyond presenting it as a situation she probably should have got out of sooner, but without getting too embroiled in the emotional complexities. 

It forms the most noteworthy chapter in her dating memoirs, which covers losing her virginity – and being publicly humiliated immediately afterwards – the El Salvadorian who got deported and her current squeeze, a criminal-adjacent London geezer who, amusingly, also has an unexpected penchant for the woo-woo of astrology.

Haddow prefaces this by explaining Not My Finest Hour is a way of apologising for her affair, though I’m not sure she does, especially. It’s merely a ruse to talk about insincere celebrity excuses, such as Roseanne blaming her sleeping pills for making her racist in 2018. Five years on, and the comic adds nothing to the sarcastic tweets everyone was posting at the time.

As for Haddow’s background, growing up in Corby, she has some good examples of why her shit town was the shittest of the shit towns. Meanwhile, her Scottish dad’s discomfort at having fathered an Englishwoman offers a productive line in gags.

From a working-class background in Northamptonshire, she has ascended the social ladder to the middle-class preserve of being an arty type living in East London. She used to be the picture editor of a glossy magazine, where her boss recalled the cash sloshing around the publishing industry in the 1990s – very Ab Fab. 

This a fluid, elegantly put-together introduction to Haddow both as a person and a comic with an impressive stage presence. Yet true to the ambiguous title, this surely isn’t her finest hour, as there will surely be better ones to come as she develops her writing and delves deeper.

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Published: 21 Aug 2023

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Alexandra Haddow: Not My Finest Hour

Edinburgh Fringe 2024

Alexandra Haddow: Third Party


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