Chris Washington: You Beauty! | Edinburgh Fringe review by Jay Richardson
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Chris Washington: You Beauty!

Edinburgh Fringe review by Jay Richardson

As reported by his local newspaper, Wigan postman Chris Washington took all of his annual leave last year to make as great an Edinburgh impact as every other performer combined. Yet the reality seems only marginally less incredible, as the unheralded comic's pay-what-you-want show came from nowhere to scoop an award nomination for best newcomer.

A sometime singer-songwriter in the You Beauties, a terrible band of mates, Washington went from fearing his comedy career was heading for the same obscurity, to pondering how to overcome difficult second album syndrome, having burned all his previously accumulated routines in that debut.

Twelve months later, he deserves huge credit for turning round a better hour with a much narrower focus, essentially what it feels like to be nominated for a prestigious award.

To qualify that, the show is bookended by some of his postman experiences, satisfying curiosity over how many naked householders he encountered in his eight years on the job, how many cheques he nicked and the inane response that he was constantly greeted by when he told people his job.

Surveying his reviews, which characterise him as good company and a plucky underdog just happy to be involved, he embraces rather than rejects an assessment that other, more high-minded acts, might perceive as a slight, convincingly wearing his ordinariness with pride.

Largely indifferent to class, the chief quality he seeks in a friend appears to be a propensity to entertainingly bullshit, just the occasional super-inventive lie to keep the world spinning. Sharing an insight into comedians' superstitions, the rituals he followed, depending on whether he had a good or bad show, continued right up until he got the call informing him of his nomination.

What comes next is an intriguing, blow-by-blow account of the awards process in which he's absolutely cast as the beggar at the feast, the other nominees surrounded by their management entourages, Washington only able to call on the support of his oldest friends when he makes it worth their while. With endearing honesty, he relays his fears for these social hand grenades as his two worlds collide. But they only expose his naivety about the process.

As history records, Washington didn't win that day. But what you might not know is what happened when he returned to work to see out his Royal Mail contract. Making news across the North West est of England, the loyalty of his colleagues is touching and further burnishes those Everyman credentials.

Already pursuing television work, after a fashion, Washington's underdog story still holds true, as he persuades you that his career continues to be defined by his happy-go-lucky approach and weakness for kebabs. It might well take him far.

Review date: 17 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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