Holly Burn: I Am Kirsty K | Review by Steve Bennett
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Holly Burn: I Am Kirsty K

Review by Steve Bennett

Holly Burn’s gimmick this year is that she’s going to inhabit her alter-ego Kirsty K, 24/7 for the duration of the Fringe – which could be something of a nightmare given how full-on an hour in the company of this excitable 24-year-old is…

The premise is that the character has inherited money from her globetrotting Nan to stage posthumous tributes around the world, quite the adventure for an optimistic naif who’s never previously travelled outside Whitley Bay. ‘She’s from Birmingham!’ Kirsty shrieks with ear-piercing excitement on meeting one member of the audience, as if she’d said she was from Jupiter.

Kirsty is decidedly peculiar, but embraces her challenge. When she takes her tentative first steps on stage to read a eulogy, the hilarious way she quells her nerves is very visible, but as the show marches on she soon becomes confident enough – if not talented enough – to belt out a rap about just what Nan liked.

Her scatterbrain chucks out snippets of information about Nan’s life, and gradually quite the picture emerges of an artist, inventor… and lover; tall tales all, surely?

Nothing will dent Kirsty’s upbeat, hyperactive, but nervous enthusiasm, and she beats any audience reticence into submission. It’s a typically intense, typically stupid performance from Burn, prepared to give her all to play the fool.

Yet this is more than bold acting; the show is more cleverly put-together than it first appears and as Nan’s backstory is pieced together, apparently random lines are given context. What initially got laughs for being so out of place, gets a sage ‘aahh..’ when it all starts making sense, if ‘making sense’ isn’t too tall an order for a show that works just beyond the fringes of plausibility.

The humour does not just rest on non-sequiturs, there are laughs too from peculiar prop work and a decent handful of well-written lines, as well as the general joy of the characterisation and Burn’s exaggerated physicality.

There’s something of a lull at the traditional 40-minute point, as Kirsty starts regaling us with a shaggy dog story about taking the Megabus out of her hometown for the first time… though to break this – and not before time – the show takes a left turn with a seduction that it’d be a spoiler to reveal.

It’s all Stuff and Nonsense of course, but very entertaining stuff and nonsense.

Review date: 12 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just the Tonic at The Mash House

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