Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Both clowning and improv have their vocal detractors, and not entirely without cause. But Julia Masli’s standout show, hilarious and affirming, will restore your faith in both genres.

The premise is simple. She approaches audience members, asks one question: ‘Problem?’ Then moves to solve the issue raised with a tinkle of her tiny handbell.

But this is to give no hint of the artistry she brings to her agony-aunt role, the sense of supportive community she instils in the room, and the magnificent waves of rolling laughter that greet her inventive, off-kilter solutions.

Wide-eyed and apparently innocent, she’s dressed in a Victorian bridal gown and top hat with two small legs sticking out of it. A third, full-sized mannequin leg, takes the place of her microphone-holding arm - all the better to reach punters that might otherwise be out of her reach.

She’s audaciously fearless in asking such an open-ended question, though similar answers must come up repeatedly, so I won’t share too much of what happened in this particular show. Suffice to say that if he’s as good as his word, Glenn Moore now has some unexpected housemates, after gamely volunteering to get involved. 

That Estonian Masli did not recognise the Mock The Week regular when almost everyone else in the room did only added to the hilarity and reinforced her persona as an innocent, otherworldly naif who holds the keys to unlocking our happiness.

It’s easy to see why Moore stepped up. Masli creates a joyous, positive atmosphere, lighting up everyone’s sense of empathy, that she so endearingly embodies. Strangers help each other out, or bond over shared issues.

Yet for all this positivity it’s not a twee, cuddly show. The improv, and the peculiar solutions she devises for some of the problems gives the hour a spikier edge, pushing punters out of their comfort zones - but for their own good, and for the good of the room. And while Masli’s palpable delight at ‘fixing’ the problems is infectious, she will take issue if you say or do the wrong thing.

Unpredictable and thrilling, this is a runaway hit with a real lightning-in-a-bottle sense of capturing something unique and special, just for this one night.

The show has deservedly become the late-night magnet for comics this year and Masli’s original two-week run at midnight has been extended to the end of the festival, with the extra shows at 1.30am. It’s worth staying up for.

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Review date: 18 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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