Pam Ford: My Life Is A Circus

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Some acts are at the broadsheet end of the market. Pam Ford is unashamedly tabloid: she even came dressed as a red top, in full ringmaster's garb of red jacket, black top hat and carrying a whip she doesn't need because her tongue can lash the audience even more effectively.

'Larger-than-life' is an understatement.

With an Australian accent you could cut with a steel boomerang, Pam was surprisingly born in Birmingham and only taken to Oz aged nine by her 'Ten Pound Pom' parents.

This show is allegedly about her life there, moving house 25 times, marrying and divorcing twice, having two children and returning to Britain, But, in fact, it's just an excuse for a raucous hour of rabble-rousing jokes. She has an extraordinary talent for audience interaction, perhaps honed when she was a pub landlady.

After about 15 minutes of lively Edinburgh anecdotes and audience banter, she launched into a gagathon which barely faltered for the rest of the hour. You certainly get value for money with Pam: the number of gags and mini-gags-per-minute is astonishing as she gallops superficially but entertainingly through her life story.

By 25 minutes into the show, she was gabbling so fast she was losing some laughs simply because the audience had to listen too carefully in case they missed something. That is a criticism, not a compliment.

After a rousing visual version of the Sixties anthem Build Me Up Buttercup, she lost pace momentarily, which had the benefit of slowing her delivery to a manageable speed. Then she was off again with energetic audience interaction and a demonstration of how to use skinless chicken breasts as bosom enhancers.

Pam Ford's first solo show at the Fringe is reminiscent of the height of the Northern Working Men's Club and none the worse for that. A rousing audience-pleaser of a show with one corker of a joke ­ about shaving only one leg ­ which is worth the price of admission on its own.

Loud. Brash. Funny. Could slow down a bit and she'd get even more laughs.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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