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Dana Alexander

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Newly arrived in Britain from Canada, Dana Alexander’s Fringe debut shows her as an adept, charming and astute comedian – warmly funny with a impishly sarcastic sense of humour. And while this was not a spectacular hour of stand-up, it’s certainly enough to establish her as a rock-solid act.

Apologies to my fellow audience members, but she didn’t have the greatest crowd: small in number and low in energy on a rain-lashed Black Wednesday – the night of the festival when ticket sales are always the toughest. She could only play the room in front of her, though, and treated the reticent few with relaxed good-humour, although occasionally her enthusiasm seemed to lull, too, especially at the end when she engaged in some mostly futile ‘meet the audience’ banter before summarily closing the show… not really the climax you might hope for.

But before that, we were treated to some sterling stand-up, largely based on herself as a self-confessed ‘industrial’ woman used to the unglamorous life of a penniless road comic, and with a family of ‘ghetto’ cousins who seem to provide her with endless material, which she admits she simply has to write down and regurgitate on stage.

That comedy-club background means he sometimes plays it a bit safe, with workmanlike gags about shagging small guys, porn, dating and smoking dope. It sometimes sails close to cliché, but Alexander puts her own spin on the stories.

She has a specially nice approach to her race-based material, treating it lightly and using her Jamaican heritage as just one aspect of her personality, not being solely defined by it. Again, there’s sometimes a rather obvious lines – such as asking why there were no black people at the Royal Wedding – but she’s often more obtuse: the idea of racism as being a medical condition was particularly sharp one. And as if to demonstrate the range of her material, my other favourite bit was about the Tickle Me Elmo toy.

She is a world apart from those idiot cousins, with social smarts and eloquence evident in her writing, and an engaging likeability on stage. Welcome to the UK, Ms Alexander.

Review date: 12 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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