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Holly Burn: Living and Dying

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julian Hall

Perhaps more than most character comics, Geordie powerhouse Holly Burn has never been able to leave childhood dressing-up games alone. In her latest quirkfest she tricks an audience member into shooting her dead before springing back into life to parade a number of loony characters, including a tiger who is in the top 100 of the Sunday Times Rich List.

For an act that can divide a room, her audience today are prepared to be led by the hand of someone akin to the overexcited girl at a party who always wants you to dance. After all, we have been complicit in her murder, so perhaps we owe her one.

The rewards for a our cooperation are a stream of vignettes, asides and characters who include Custard Flanagan, a character you can rent for a show and who inspires doubt in people. Meanwhile, any doubts in the minds of her audience that might arise from when something peters out are mostly quickly assuaged by a deft turn of phrase or a fleet of foot piece of improvisation.

There are moments where characterisations, for example of the deadbeat friend who never wants to leave your couch, are too lightly drawn and filler 'cartoons', such as the goofy lady who likes to let the contents of her bags drop to the floor, seem to let down some of the other supporting cast.

Nonetheless, Burn continues to cultivate an air of expectancy about her work, a confidence within the punter that following her bizarre thought patterns will take them somewhere. Despite some rough edges and padding, Living and Dying is a great way top spend a Fringe afternoon.

Review date: 9 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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