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Ann Edmonds: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julia Chamberlain

Ann Edmonds has a childlike lack of embarrassment on stage, grinding and pumping for comic effect, lots of babyfaced charm and vulnerability and a cheery determination to set expectations low, warning us that if we don’t laugh at the time, we may laugh later.

She, her keyboardist and Steven the Banjo flew 12,000 miles  from Austrlia for this, to perform at noon.  The approach is at once disarming but  a bit bothering, does she really think it’s not going to be that good?

Edmonds’s girl-next-door quality made her unthreatening, and her chatty style through this autobiographical debut had the audience engaged. She set out her stall, to tell the story of how she got to be where she is now, overcoming a life of niggling humiliations.

These are narrated with exuberance and the various Aussie characters leapt to life, from the drunk bogan female who offered an early, uninvited critique, to her robust, loser mate Rebecca whose blunt approach helps give her a steer, via the nightclub harpy who makes explicit the lavatory etiquette requirements in nightclubs. (Separate note – are there any shows without a poo reference or is everybody stuck at aged 7?)   There were good characters, engaging stories, proper little songs with a banjo and not the gimmick du jour for comedians, a frigging ukelele.  So far so good.

My reticence about the show is that it played the lovable amateur card a little too strongly.  It’s too naïve and girlish. You’d be madly impressed if this was a friend giving it a go (although presumably they wouldn’t be snapped up by  a good, professional venue like Underbelly),  but this is a someone staking a claim to performer status.

At this level the laughs should be less dependent on the fact that she’s a sweet girl and have a bit more substance.   It’s a pleasant start to the comedy day while you’re warming up for something more substantial,  but it’s a bit of a fluffy show to have brought half way round the globe.

Review date: 9 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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