Lulu Popplewell: Actually, Actually | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Lulu Popplewell: Actually, Actually

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Lulu Popplewell has made an entertaining and engaging show which should have a life way beyond the Fringe. 

To borrow her own phrase, she is ‘translucent’ – probably the palest person you will see with a pulse. She looks physically fragile but radiates a strength of character and personality that comes from surviving testing circumstances.

She’s lively, teasing, putting words into the audience’s mouth, crackling with energy. The story goes off at a lick, and she doesn’t falter. There’s no faked emotional breakthrough or heart-rending moment. This is upbeat, fun, honest – a good survivor story.

She was a child actor, with tiny part in Love Actually, a 20-year-old film that has aged badly. Trouble is, she had the temerity to mention that in a tweet and the Daily Mail vilified her and invited a pile-on of the ignorant, the misogynistic and people angry about anything. Thank you, Twitter.

It's not a spoiler to say she is in recovery, eight years clean and sober.  She doesn’t harrow us with her drink/drugs/everything hell but brilliantly addresses the natural, prurient interest people have, addiction being the emotive term it is.

Her concise explanation of addiction was the best I’ve heard and the story of the vicious challenge to her sobriety, resulting from this Daily Mail non-story shows how far she’s come.

The therapeutic show has taken over from the ‘dead dad’ genre, and this exuberant show played around with Love Actually references while reminding the us to take a fresh look why people get addicted, what they put themselves and family through.

More broadly, she opens up on the perpetual attack waged by the media on women who have the temerity to speak, even ever so quietly, on something ever so small, being subject to oceans of personal abuse.

There’s no ‘poor me’ aspect to this show, it’s playfully funny, thought-provoking and has kindness at its heart.

Review date: 8 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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