Tiff Stevenson / Seann Walsh / Rosie Holt
She has ADHD, or rather she diagnosed herself with it after failing to answer a bunch of online surveys (a symptom, apparently), and decided she had a sexy brain. Sexy as mysterious – you know, the way women are meant to be.
Much of it is playful and lighthearted about the weird ways her thought processes work and how she interacts with her mother, her partner, and her 15-year-old stepson. But Stevenson, a savvy political observer, also makes some serious points about feminism, being a woman over 40 with opinions and our current political situation.
She covers a lot of territory — from dolphin villains and menstrual products to Wyatt Earp’s medical issues and modern women’s public hair styles — in a seemingly meandering thread, but with an ultimate destination.
The energy kicks into high gear as Stevenson describes her recent time in Hollywood when she discovered the painful truth about the difference in drinking between Britons and Americans. When it comes to getting asses through drink, the Brits (as portrayed by Stevenson) are clearly world class – and she throws down a fabulous name while recounting her experiences.
The story that ends the show takes us in an unexpected direction, with a big callback from Stevenson to end on a high.
Until August 29
Sean Walsh, The gallery ****
When Seann Walsh appeared on Come dance strictly in 2018, he thought he had become the big moment. But a drunken kiss offstage with her dance partner ended not only her appearance on the shiny floor show, but her longtime relationship as well. Walsh dealt with the fallout from this “tabloid scandal” on a previous show, but in Senn Walsh: is dead. Happy now? he describes fallout after fallout.
This is serious. He was suicidal, went to therapy, was diagnosed with PTSD and quit drinking three years ago. He mostly avoids mentioning the difficult split with his ex-partner, save for one crucial detail about the household goods division, and instead delves into his family history. Is it any wonder that he has addictive tendencies when his father was a heroin addict throughout the comic’s childhood?
But it’s not a memoir of misery (even if some details are shocking); it’s touching and unwavering on the way back from what seemed like the end of Walsh’s career – and it’s very, very funny. Along the way, he talks – with a certain humility and a good dose of good humor – about what Strictly competitors invariably call their trip but it’s never po-faced. As a bonus, it adds some cracking Michael McIntyre and Josh Widdicombe impersonations in a few trivia, and the ending isn’t what we expected.
Until August 28
Rosie Holt, Pleasure Court ****
Rosie Holt is a comedic-turned-actress who rose to fame with her spoof lockdown videos about a right-wing ‘opinionist’ who is slavishly loyal to her party leader, regardless of the moral and linguistic contortions needed to defend the Prime’s latest behavior minister. woman’s hour is his first accomplished hour of character comedy based on these videos.
The convoluted story, which means frantic costume changes by Holt and the use of pre-recorded inserts displayed on the screen on stage, involves (among others) Tory MP ‘Rosie Holt’, who represents the Conservative Party leadership and whose campaign song is the gloriously inappropriate “Boss Bitch” by Doha Cat, conservative journalist Harriet Langley-Swindon, TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, Liz Truss and conspiracy theorist Russell Brand.
The show tackles political hypocrisy (from both ends of the left-right spectrum), undo culture and celebrity idiocy on social media. He starts off strong but rather wanders off in the final quarter, and not all the characters reach the goal. Yet a large part of woman’s hour is smart and funny, proving, if need be, that Holt is a very talented writer and performer.
Until August 29
Edinburgh Fringe until August 29
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