mon 03/10/2022

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Kiri Pritchard-McLean / Lou Sanders / Snort | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Kiri Pritchard-McLean / Lou Sanders / Snort

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Kiri Pritchard-McLean / Lou Sanders / Snort

Exploring Welsh identity; rollerskating diaries; New Zealand improv

Kiri Pritchard-McLean's show explores her Welsh identity

Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Monkey Barrel 

Wearing a heavily sequinned leotard - she thought this was how we’d all dress after “living in trackies during lockdown” - Kiri Pritchard-McLean wants to address some very serious subjects, such as racism, imperialism and white privilege. But first she wants to deliver some funnies, and there are lots of them in Home Truths, a show bursting with energy and ideas.

She’s a proud Welshwoman (the leotard has the Welsh flag on it, and she performs in front of a sign reading Môn Mam Cymru  - Anglesey, mother of Wales) and, having moved back a few years ago to the island where she grew up, started learning Welsh in lockdown.

Pritchard-McLean talks us through the childhood bullying she suffered (for being too Welsh or not Welsh enough), her farmer dad’s blunt advice, and some of the characters in her locality. But then she broadens it out to discuss body image - “I will always look like I can carry more than I weigh” - and being true to yourself, while drawing parallels with oppression and privilege.

You have to go with her at this point, as the parallels seem a stretch - I’m not convinced that a section in which she describes a sexual encounter with her boyfriend is the best way  to drive home a point about our discomfort with looking ourselves in the mirror as a nation - but much of this hour comes with big laughs and lots to chew over after.

 

Lou Sanders, Monkey Barrel 

Lou Sanders added to her fanbase by her appearances on Mel Giedroyc’s Unforgivable on Dave,  and now will surely attract some more with One Word: Wow, which charts her love of rollerskating, which she took up in lockdown. Fine in a thirtysomething man, she says, but when a woman of her vintage does it, the assumption when she turns up at a skatepark is that she’s looking for her lost son.

She kept a diary about her (slow) progress, from which she occasionally reads, but this is just one theme of several in a show that, in typical Sanders style, moves across and about and back again through several subjects.

One of them is post-lockdown dating, as Sanders met a younger guy at the skate park. She not only gets comedic mileage from pointing out the incongruity of the situation but also makes a sly feminist point in highlighting that male comics wouldn't even mention age in this story.

She also “prattles on” about other stuff, such as the £150 she spent on crystals even though she doesn’t really believe in them (who knows with Sanders, though, as irony and the faux reveal is such an important part of her act). It’s an unstructured show - or at least appears to be - but Sanders delivers some big laughs along the way.

 

Snort, Pleasance Courtyard 

Snort is a New Zealand improv group whose most famous member is Rose Matafeo, who won best show in Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2018. In each performance a rotating cast of members take part in this late-night show.

The set-up is simple: the audience shout out a word, and  guest comics - Heidi Regan, Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher the night I saw the show - then perform a short monologue inspired by the word. Divorce, irrelevant and chimneysweep were the words that Snort had to improvise a story around, using details from the monologue.

Some of the improv was inspired (it’s fascinating to see how some comedic minds work), other bits less so  - and, strangely, no one referenced the most famous chimneysweep of all, Dick Van Dyke as Bert in Mary Poppins.

Improv, by its nature, may not hit the heights in every performance, but this was good late-night fun.

Until 28 August

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