Priya Hall: Grandmother’s Daughter | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Priya Hall: Grandmother’s Daughter

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

If Priya Hall was wondering what to make her debut Fringe show about, the universe has delivered. In the last year she has quit her day job and dumped her boyfriend of six years to set up home with ‘a little tiny lesbian’.

More significantly, she decided to act on her long-held ambitions to be a mother, even if, biologically speaking, swapping a male partner for a female one was not the ideal first step.

Fertility and IVF is one of those subjects that seems to be having its moment, with a few Fringe comedians sharing their experiences. Yet this already difficult, expensive and emotionally draining undertaking has particular challenges for a lesbian couple, raising issues others might not think of. And the part of the process all the male comics love talking about – the sperm donation – Hall and her partner are not in the room for.

She has, then, an unusual perspective on the process and amusingly highlights the many strange incidents in the process – while using the IVF ‘journey’ as a narrative umbrella that can enclose various stand-up anecdotes, mainly about her family, from the Indian grandfather learning English from an unlikely TV show to the no-nonsense drug-popping grandmother from the Welsh valleys. And yes, Hall’s status as a half-Indian Welshwoman has benefitted from a bit of affirmative action – though she self-effacingly describes how casting her in a musical for that reason was particularly ill-advised.

We also hear stories of her own childhood, strange manifestations of her anxieties as an adult and how she loves the queer community as only a newcomer could.

There are few whistles and bells here. It’s straight, unfussy first-hand storytelling from a charming performer - the endearing Welsh lilt certainly helps – with an interesting story to tell. She doesn’t expose every raw emotion, but is open enough to convey just some of what she and her partner are going through.

The occasional revelation - to her as well as to straight members of the audience - that some parts of life are still not built for queer people gives a little food for thought, as does the dizzying cost and complexities of IVF. But this is a personal story, not a manifesto, and Hall’s default is to be optimistic and positive.

Her winning ways extend to some engaging audience chat, and the story boasts a decent smattering of gags and occasional cheeky innuendo. A bit of insubstantial filler material, too, but never so much to feel like a drag, nor to detract from the feeling you’ve spent an hour in delightful, upbeat company. You’ll definitely be left hoping for the best for Hall and her girlfriend.

Priya Hall: Grandmother’s Daughter is on at Monkey Barrel 2 at 4.20pm

Review date: 3 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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