Abigail Burdess

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Abigail Burdess’s character show is the very definition of a mixed bag. Some brilliantly funny moments share equal billing with some tired old nonsense in a very scattergun show.

For every old joke about astrology or sucking on a Fisherman’s Friend, there’s a brilliant Brit-rap in the style of Lily Allen or a great range of utterly inappropriate greeting cards.

Her creations tend to be exaggerated caricatures, whether it’s the hippy Buddhist with strangulated vowels and indeterminable accent, the ruthlessly hard-edged Scottish businesswoman, or the creepy Leeds hoodie.

But they tend to be pitched at just the wrong level, gratingly annoying rather than flamboyantly over-the top. Tellingly, the show works best at the extremes of energy: when she’s being absolutely outrageous, or quietly low-key.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, the modest character linking each sketch with quirky nuggets of usually hilarious home-spun wisdom from her grandmother is endearing. The trite mechanic is that she suffers a multiple personality disorder, and the other characters are figments of that, but it’s irrelevant.

At the other end, the judgmental Brummie diversity trainer provides good un-PC laughs after a long build-up and the finale – a Bart Simpson inspired ventriloquist act that literally brings the house down is a riot, even though one of the central jokes (that it’s done in a burkha) isn’t entirely fresh.

Burdess, one half of Live at the Mausoleum, has just enough great jokes in her debut solo show for it to be worth a look. But she needs firmer direction, tighter editing and more of a sense of purpose about her comedy attitude if she wants a show that really stands out.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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