Sarah Johnson: Mum's Going To Ibiza | Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney
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Sarah Johnson: Mum's Going To Ibiza

Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney

It’s an ambitious move, attempting to take an audience into the world of Ibiza clubworld in the back room of an Edinburgh pub. It’s also 2pm – just when your average Ibiza clubber is probably asleep (I’m guessing here). But Sarah Johnson does a fine job of doing just that.

Mum Goes To Ibiza is the story of Johnson being invited to a 50th birthday holiday in Ibiza… and I was expecting a no-holds barred tale of drink, drugs and debauchery. There is plenty of that, but only at a distance, among the people around her. Johnson fleetingly gets involved but her approach is summed up by the fact that when she drunkenly considers trying pole-dancing in a club, her second thought is to give the pole a good clean first. In other words, she’s the fish out of water, struggling to get out of mum mode.

It’s actually as much about one woman’s anxiety as it is about partying. The concerns Johnson have are various and deep-seated – the expense, the ‘shagger’ T-shirts, and most of all, being an overweight mum surrounded by tanned young models in bikinis. She takes us through the hell of trying to lose three stone in the run-up to the holiday, and ends up taking some quite drastic action. 

Johnson is a terrific host, and spins her yarn with just the sort of pace and verve that it requires. I’m not a target audience for this show, particularly, but off I went with her story, swept along by a most persuasive comic. You also get a sense that there’s still a party girl lurking in her still, and she briefly relives her youth of playing house music in her bedroom to the consternation of her dad. 

She has a good way of painting a picture – I liked the image of a young ‘reveller’ caked off his bongo on ketamine, being surrounded by Johnson and Co, who fend off potential muggers and end up looking after him until he sobers up. 

She also has some fun with the ketamine part of her story – not taking it of course (Sherbet Dip Dab suffices, thank you) – but the ‘lucky charms’ she nearly bought for her daughters as souvenirs, and a sequence that connects the dots between horse tranquilliser and The Godfather. 

If you’re after an hour of bulletproof stand-up material, this isn’t the show for you, but it is a fun and thoroughly entertaining way to spend an hour of your early afternoon. It still didn’t make me want to go to Ibiza though.

Review date: 9 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Dragonfly

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