Micky Overman: Role Model | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Micky Overman: Role Model

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Micky Overman speaks about the lack of confidence that has plagued her throughout her life. But her Edinburgh debut positively throbs with confidence in her comedy powers.

Role Model is, essentially, an anthology of every awful experience that's happened to her, loosely couched as advice for Frankie, the 13-year-old girl she now nannies for.

These are often not one-off incidents that still induce cringes – although there are enough of those – but huge errors of judgement, from flying to Australia to join a boyfriend who'd just dumped her for another girl (who was out there with him), to sharing a bed with another ex for nine months after they split. There may be a pattern here…

Often low self-esteem is at the root of these predicaments, but Overman owns the stories now, not least when she recounts some of her many anecdotes about bad sex, putting the onus for the disappointment firmly on the bloke.

Hannah Gadsby's game-changing show Nanette had much to say on the victim mentality that informs self-deprecating humour. But while Overman's comedy has those disarming low-status sensibilities, it's clear she's looking back on a younger, less assured person, and laughing at what she inflicted on herself while noting how far she’s come.

Much of this might sound like par for the course of any debutant show, a lifetime of stories given a comic spin for the comic to introduce themselves to the world, wrapped in a subtly empowering message. But not only does Overman do this with aplomb, she also has plenty of mischievously tricksy devices to pull the rug from under audience expectations, subverting some of the conventions of stand-up without being smugly clever about it.

It's a firmly constructed hour, too, with strands about her blissfully happy parents' expectations of her, her obsessive love for Julie Andrews, and her contempt for Frankie's too-privileged friend Olivia. There's even a perfect solution to the vampire problem – at last!- and a take on Alanis Morrissette's Ironic that manages not to be a weaker copy of the decades-old routine with which Ed Byrne made his name.

There are a couple of lulls around the notorious 40-minute mark, where Overman needs an extra trick or stronger punchline, but even relatively mundane placeholder gags receive an enthusiastic response, such is the rapport that this frank and engaging Dutchwoman has built with her audience.

And she uses that for her positive message about taking firmer control of your life, stated more in subtext for the impact she's having on young Frankie than in some overtly emotion-wrangling award-bait of a monologue. 

Although you would be rash to rule this 2018 Chortle best newcomer nominee out of any further recognition this Fringe.

Review date: 3 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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