Olga Koch: Prawn Cocktail | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Olga Koch: Prawn Cocktail

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Olga Koch seems to get more confident, more raunchy and more reckless with every passing year. In 2023, as she becomes ‘the first woman in history to turn 30’ she seems to have thrown even more caution to the wind. She’s travelled more, become even more horny and acquired tattoos AND an STI, and wears them equally as badges of honour.

That same sort of incautious freewheeling pervades her telling of this story. She’s just mucking about, having fun, letting the audience live vicariously through her wild sexual adventures, from threesomes to her first fling with a fem woman.

Regrets, she has none, reframing them as formative experiences that make her the woman she is today. The Russian-born comic doesn’t do embarrassment or humiliation, she owns every bad experience, repurposing them as rambunctious stand-up routines.

The cornerstone story of Prawn Cocktail is of meeting a hot guy at a wedding in New Zealand, then planning a ten-day shagathon break in Tokyo, halfway between their home cities. Yet Koch combines this randiness with a geekiness, which shouldn’t seem unexpected, but does. ‘Good in the sheets… the spreadsheets, ’ she quips, though that organisational flair helps her keep her hook-ups on schedule. 

Amid all her adventures, she found time to complete a masters to add to the computer sciences degree she’s spoken about before. This time in ‘parasocial relationships’: in short, what makes the internet’s ‘reply guys’ think they have a genuine connection with the famous women they engage with online. Researching that came easy, given the state of her DMs every time she appeared on TV.

Other diversions cover her peculiar family background – with one sister 12 years older than her and a brother ten years younger, spoiling her mother’s longed-for menopause, after which she was hoping to just stop caring. 

The content matches both sides of Koch’s personality, with a few geeky gags snuck into the outlandish stories of sexual derring-do, including a shoo-in for the ‘best gestalt joke of the festival’. Yet there’s more to her rambunctious anecdotes than meets the eye, especially the true story of what happened when she did reconnect with her Kiwi crush in that Tokyo hotel room which flips so much of the previous swagger on its head.

Koch brings more structure to show than first appears, too, and she ties up her routines in a satisfying climax – which may be an apposite phrase given her proudly sex-positive outlook. Whatever, it adds impact to what’s already a shamelessly funny hour.

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Review date: 4 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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