Aisling Bea: Plan Bea | Review by Paul Fleckney
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Aisling Bea: Plan Bea

Review by Paul Fleckney

Aisling Bea was last in Edinburgh two years ago, with a superb debut that demonstrated her star quality. Now she’s back, and in the intervening period has got something of a TV profile – so what to do with the follow-up?

What it feels like is a first show, second time round. That makes a lot of sense: introduce yourself to a bigger audience as if you’re starting from scratch. So we get a pacey romp through Bea’s life growing up in Ireland with a single mum and a younger sister Sinead (‘a poor man’s me’), idolising all things American and feeling guilty for no reason, through to her move to London and drama school, and her subsequent regrettable role in a ‘pirate metal’ music video.

It starts a little slowly but the second half has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, particularly on the subject of the arrogance of celebrities. Bono and Kanye get called out for this, the story of Kanye being a particular highlight, and providing an unexpectedly thrilling climax. There are some interesting inroads into current affairs, including a great line on who’s behind the trend for young women going to the UK for an abortion.

The show doesn’t play to her main strength, though, which is storytelling. As an all-round entertainer, Bea can do the gags and the bantz and the mimicry, but I think it’s best served when she’s really getting her teeth into a story, and this general round-up of her life doesn’t permit that. In having essentially lots of micro-routines means it’s inevitably a bit hit and miss, if more the former than the latter.

Bea does however have the pace and spark to generate energy in what is another warm, cramped room, and full marks for providing improvised fans for everyone (‘You’re hot, I’m a fan,’ it says) So that star quality remains, but this isn’t quite the show to prove it.

Review date: 16 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon

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