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Bec Hill: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

There are sackfuls of winsome charm in Bec Hill’s disarmingly upbeat show. But while there may be whimsy there are also strong jokes and, crucially, a powerfully positive attitude that will cheer even the most jaded.

She purports to be scared of audiences, in particularly bantering with them where she fears unscripted interaction may expose her insecurities. Her honesty automatically endears us to her, evoking a natural instinct to protect her from the unnecessary stress of being heckled. And to further boost the empathy, she nominates an audience member to be her comfort blanket, ready with an approving glance should she falter – and in return she promises to help him with one of his fears.

This is all in stark contrast to Hill’s first experience of live comedy, when an aggressive alpha-male stand up intimidated the 18-year-old her with invasive questions about her sex life…  luckily he didn’t put her of going to gigs forever.

Her show is structured around all her phobias, not just this one. It’s  the usual stuff, airplanes, clowns, Godzilla attacks… OK, she might have overplayed the kookiness on that last one, but it paves the way for the best of an already excellent bunch of delightful low-tech cardboard animations, proudly displayed on her flip chart. The dinosaur one – a visual accompaniment to a Jay Foreman song – has already proved an internet hit, and rightly so.

As well as stand-alone gags, these animations provide lovely illustrations to amusing anecdotes, a valuable addition to the stories rather that a tacked-on gimmick. Likewise, if the overarching idea of the show seems slightly contrived, in actual execution this is a perfectly structured show, with strands coming together in an inspirational, but uncheesy, finale… while still allowing for surprises en route.

Hill’s putting some substance behind her innate warmth – rather like her namesake Australian compatriot Adam – to produce a small gem of a show. And you’ll wonder what she was so worried about, she’s a natural with the audience.

Review date: 23 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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