Jo Griffin: The Power Hour | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Jo Griffin: The Power Hour

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

It’s power hour indeed as Jo Griffin possesses the stage like a dervish, almost permanently on the verge of a dance break or a high kick so vigorous she fears she might dislodge her Mooncup.

That’s the sort of frankness and high-energy performance you can expect from the former sketch comic’s sophomore solo show, which revolves around her heading to a new age Retreat in the Welsh mountains for a course of magic mushrooms and DMT, the active ingredient in ayahuasca.

It seems taking these hallucinogens is now as much a rite of passage for comedians as the Fringe itself, given the number of stand-ups who relate their experience on stage. Anecdotally, DMT is said to help with mental health problems, especially depression, by freeing the ego.

Griffin’s pacy description of her getaway is as you might expect, all yurts, gongs and corporate drop-outs-turned-hippies with names like Nutmeg and Tidal Wave before sliding into surrealism as the psychoactive substances kick in.

With melting walls and visions of her dead mother, this is not the most compelling of stories – other people’s drug tales rarely are – but her exaggerated performance is transfixing. That delivery works even better with her tale of taking MDMA for the first time and reenacting the actions of the club drug very much plays to her strength.  

She was drawn to the Welsh hills by a life in limbo, finding herself in her mid-30s, single, living in a house-share, the all-too-familiar lot of the millennial in the arts. We learn about her bad dates – she calls sex ‘chicky-boom-boom’ in her frivolously matey way – the tick of the body clock and the state of her pubic hairs. 

Nothing particularly new, comedy-wise, and it can sometimes feel like that supercharged performance is overcompensating for weakness in the writing. But as Griffin brings the narrative home with a typically over-the-top physical routine checking back on all the hour’s touchpoints, her audience are too busy getting into the spirit of things to care too much about that,

Review date: 20 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly George Square

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