Myra DuBois: Dead Funny | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Myra DuBois: Dead Funny

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Myra Dubois is one of several comedians doing an encore run of a previous hit this Fringe… but she’s not entirely thrilled about it. For after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent and ‘compromising all my principles’, surely her days of playing a tent at the Edinburgh Fringe ought to be behind her. Isn’t she above all this?

Yet feeling that she’s ‘above all this’ is exactly where this Doncastrian Dame Edna shines, boasting an arsenal of withering putdowns about anything and anyone that does not match the exacting standards a divine star such as her glorious self might deserve.

She’s quick-witted and gloriously venomous, with thrilling disregard for delicate sensibilities. She mercilessly savages the fashion choices of the front row and evokes a frisson of transgression when she mocks the ‘member of the crippled community’ with his walking stick. Punching down? Of course it is. But to Ms Dubois, everybody’s ‘down’.

She is a brilliant presence, but in need of a better vehicle than Dead Funny offers. A game show suggests itself given how quick and sharp she is with the ‘nobodies’ in the audience. 

Instead, the premise here is that we are mourners at the funeral of the award-winning star of stage and screen. Don’t worry, she reassures us, it’s just a theatrical device to allow us to look back over her fabulous life with songs, readings and an extract from her autobiography. Less a eulogy and more a me-logy.

However, the moments when she’s not gloriously ripping into an audience member are patchy. The show has more padding than her bra, with many segments that just tick along uneventfully – especially a phone call with her very plain ‘twin sister’ Rose.

Musical numbers, written with Jerry Springer: The Opera composer Richard Thomas, don’t raise the canvas roof like they should, and that’s not all down to the fact she has a voice like a sack of stoats being flung off a cliff. 

Dubois leans into repetition, but it’s wearying, while the parodies of watery ‘spiritualism’ are a little flaccid. Better is the extract from her memoirs telling of when this star was born, which does have its share of good jokes.

The upshot is that while everything is performed with theatrical flourish, all the set pieces just get in the way of her being venomously rude to the audience. Vitriol is what the people want, and that’s what she’s so brilliant at delivering.

Myra Dubois: Dead Funny is on at the Underbelly George Square at 6.45pm until Sunday and then on a short tour.

Review date: 13 Aug 2021
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly George Square

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