Hannah Fairweather: Just A Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Hannah Fairweather: Just A Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Though based on a roll-call of people who have wronged her, Hannah Fairweather’s show is not the vindictive score-settling its premise suggests.

With an easygoing personality, she doesn’t do anger or pettiness. Instead, she uses the relatively short shitlist lightly, an occasional structural MacGuffin to mull over people’s behaviour in general. Indeed, there are ten minutes of preamble before we even get to the first name on it: an ex-flatmate who didn’t pull her weight.

It’s surely not for her to say, but Fairweather anoints herself the ‘Taylor Swift of comedy’ and hopes – like her much-referenced heroine – that her experiences will resonate with the audience on a wider level.

This is rather undone because her best stories are not the generic break-up tales or clichéd description of those who insist on only the most ethically sourced products – until they hoover up a noseful of cocaine. Instead, they are the unique episodes she had in winning a teenage golf scholarship to a super-religious South Carolina university, where her atheist ways were not appreciated.

Although she stood her ground here, Fairweather’s vibe is of a rule-taker, not a rule-breaker. There’s a niceness to her even when she’s hitting back at the way women in comedy are treated differently from men, or about the bros complaining to the millions of listeners to cancel-culture podcasts about how they’ve been silenced.

On one such programme, she heard the blanket criticism that female comics can’t write structurally sound jokes. She frequently disproves that by example here, with some skilful, well-crafted lines.

But ‘nice’ is a weak, if admirable, character trait and the lack of attitude and passion is to the detriment of her conversational comedy. Just A Normal Girl… is short on a sense of purpose, and Fairweather tends to be long-winded as she talks around her subjects and stories, making the gag rate disappointing. Especially as they tend to be solid punchlines when she finally gets there.

Like many stand-ups, she professes to lack confidence away from the stage, but there are signs of that even in her act. That wordiness and her slightly hesitant delivery, full of pause-fillers like ‘like’, means she comes across as unassertive. It means the show too often feels like a pleasant chat rather than an efficient vehicle to get loads of jokes across.

Hannah Fairweather: Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge is on at Just The Tonic at The Caves at 2.25pm

Review date: 7 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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