Solon wins Perrier

Second woman to take the prize

Newcomer Laura Solon has won the 2005 Perrier Award – the first woman to do so since Jenny Eclair a decade ago.

It is also the second time in two years that a surprise newcomer to the Edinburgh Fringe has scooped the award, following the success of Will Adamsdale in Jackson’s Way last year.

The 26-year-old is only the second female to win the award alone. Éclair won in 1995, while Emma Thompson, Catherine Tate and Alice Lowe have all won as part of teams – Cambridge Footlights, Lee Mack’s Sketch Show and Garth Marenghi respectively.

Solon’s show,  Kopfrapers Syndrome, was stage in the tiny Holyrood Tavern, where Wil Hodgson scooped the newcomer award last year. She was 4-1 outsider to win the title.

In this show she plays eight characters introducingThe Festival Bookworm, the Rain-Proof Siren, Karen the prize winning beautician and Borgesia the Polish story teller with a radical take on Aesop’s Fables.

Solon has previously appeared on BBC Two’s Sack Race posing as a fundamentalist Christian who found God in a pizza, trying to get fired from a Wimbledon nail bar.

Her prize is a trophy, a cheque for £7,500 and an appearance in the West End as part of a Perrier Award season.

The other nominees were

The award for Perrier best newcomer went to Australian comic Tim Minchin.

Perrier described his Gilded Balloon show Dark Side as ‘a smorgasbord of stunning musicality, hilarious stand up and average air guitar’.

Nica Burns, director of the Perrier Award said:  ‘The final debate matched the intensity  of that in 1991 in a year when the shortlist was remarkable in its range and diversity.

‘How fitting, in the 25th year, that out of the blue a  young woman of extraordinary talent should be discovered in an out-of-the -way venue and become the surprise winner and only the second solo woman to win the Perrier.

‘Laura Solon is an extraordinary writer and performer who will become a major star. Let us hope that in the next 25 years, a woman winner of a comedy award will not be an unusual event.’

The other nominees for the newcomer award were:

The London Perrier awards season takes place on Sundays October 9, 16 and 23 at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Tim Minchin and all the main nominees will play in a series of double bills.

The  judging  panel was John Pidgeon (chairman, head of BBC Radio Entertainment), Stephen Armstrong (comedy critic, The Sunday Times), Vanessa Haynes (Celador), Emma King (Time Out winner), Ruby Kuraishe (Channel 4), Paul Maguire (The Times winner), Sarah Mahoney (Paramount Comedy), Sarah Niblock ( winner), Ian Shuttleworth (comedy and theatre critic, Financial Times) and Graham Smith (Five).


Published: 28 Aug 2005

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