Sasha Ellen: When Life Gives You Ellens Make Ellenade | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review © Karla Gowlett
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Sasha Ellen: When Life Gives You Ellens Make Ellenade

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Sasha Ellen is surely bang on the money when she identifies the cognitive dissonance at the heart of modern hook-ups. A generation raised with the internet and stark warnings about steering clear of strangers becomes sexually active at a time when the best way to meet someone is randomly through a dating app, complete with all its filtered, distorted reality.

Though statistically unlikely, it's a serial killer's fantasy made manifest. And that's the nagging thought and subtext underlying all of Ellen's romantic encounters. No doubt there are some absolute psychos out there, like the comedian who set a date for the break-up of their long-term relationship with their ex, right after the 2022 Fringe, and well, really made a date of it. She only has to look in the mirror for that.

There's a fine balance struck here between Ellen’s lived experience of aggressive male behaviour, and her self-mocking side, foregrounding her regrets and rueful accounts of the rough and tumble of meeting weirdos and eccentrics with the hope that they might just be the love of her life.

This light-hearted side is predominant, but the darkness is ever-present, a tension that she capably exploits. Who knew that mass murderers actually have lessons to teach the average man about women? That Hitler was right about Brighton? Or that the algorithms are now so finely tuned that you can wind up dating a relative?

Being a comic living in London, returning home late at night, instantly places Ellen in a potentially dangerous environment. And When Life Gives You Ellens Make Ellenade is casually threaded with the story of her returning home in the small hours one evening, preparing for her pathetic takeaway pizza for one, when she receives a text …

She hasn't always made the smartest decisions in the grip of horniness. But any one-night stand probably ought to know that she's scanning the décor the next morning, accumulating some damning examples of male slobbery and arrested development. And as a bisexual, she's got a bit of extra context as to how men are generally letting themselves down, at least compared to the more considerate ladies.

Cheerfully upbeat, with some lovely turns of phrase, Ellen is deliciously brutal suggesting drastic solutions for the truly hopeless men, the absolute lost causes. And she's transgressively witty when entering the serial killer mindset, making for a tonally rich, consistently funny hour that also keeps you invested in the B-plot of her quest for love.

Review date: 26 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

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