Celya AB: Second Rodeo | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Celya AB: Second Rodeo

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

As a French comedian, Celya AB admits she has built a decent career on mocking the Brits. But as our nation circles the drain, her cross-Channel banter seems increasingly like bullying. Time, then, to pivot her style into less contentious whimsy.

And that is what we get in this low-energy meander through some of the more fanciful, surreal notions that have crossed her mind on topics ranging from revolving doors to synonyms to wondering how they make songs that fade out.

She might share an occasional biographic nugget, such as the fact her mother was a successful plastic surgeon in Algeria before moving to France or that she got into trouble for stealing bread as a child (très Les Mis). But any truth is often just a seed for a crystal of nonsense. Nothing should be taken at face value, especially if you sense she’s heading for a tender anecdote.

There’s a story of her buying chocolate from a late-night garage, having to request it from the cashier in his perspex box, that tops and tails a big chunk of this, but to suggest this amounts to structure would be grossly overstating the case. The incident evokes in her the feeling of being a child again, as does the vision of an old man enjoying an ice cream – but as a philosophy, it doesn’t amount to much. Perhaps more that she’s had a major breakup and is looking for comforts where she can find them.

As the comedy circuit’s very own Amélie, she’s charming and personable in her gentle absurdity. There’s always a cheeky glint in her eye, and she needs that charisma as some of the show is decidedly, deliberately unhurried – especially a slow-motion mime to demonstrate just how frustrating a lack of urgency can be…. which definitely gets her point across.

Obsessed with the viral crowdwork videos that define stand-up in so many minds these days, she gives her interactions their own captions – less ‘comedian DESTROYS rude heckler’ than ‘nice comedian is nice to nice audience member’.

And ‘nice’ is probably an appropriate adjective for the whole show that’s gently enjoyable in execution and imaginative in its unique fantasies.

Review date: 10 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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