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Rachel Fairburn, Go Faster Stripe review - smart and subtle gags | reviews, news & interviews

Rachel Fairburn, Go Faster Stripe review - smart and subtle gags

Rachel Fairburn, Go Faster Stripe review - smart and subtle gags

Feminism and unlikely heroes

Rachel Fairburn explains why Barry Manilow is top of her hitlist

Rachel Fairburn says she didn't know what to wear for the gig. She's dressed in an all-black ensemble; hotpants, animal-print boots and a feather bolero jacket. “I've come as a mistress at a funeral.” 

Rachel Fairburn says she didn't know what to wear for the gig. She's dressed in an all-black ensemble; hotpants, animal-print boots and a feather bolero jacket. “I've come as a mistress at a funeral.” 

It's a doozy of an opener to Her Majesty and the kind of sharp gag that listeners to her All Killa No Filla podcast (performed with Kiri Pritchard-McLean) would recognise.

Fairburn's hero is her grandmother, and she is trying to be a good role model for her young nieces, passing on the same Mancunian grit and fortitude while not giving a toss what anyone thinks of her or how she lives her life. This is reflected in some strong material about the kind of advertising and marketing aimed at women – all fluffy this and unicorns that – that drives Fairburn to distraction, and the double standard that is still applied to men's and women's sexual behaviour. 

So it comes as a bit of surprise to learn that apart from her nan, this feminist's heroes are all male rock stars of a certain vintage. She loves the Rolling Stones and Liam and Noel Gallagher because they don't give a toss, while her affection for Paul McCartney, circa 1965, is related to him cheating on his girlfriend and still being the Beatle everyone liked. Her love for Barry Manilow, however, might take some more explaining.

Fairburn gives a lot of autobiographical detail, not least that she might be an adult but still has posters on her bedroom walls. She mentions her OCD, which takes the form of catastrophising; if she phones her mum and she doesn't answer, she assumes she's dead. She also talks about mental health, women's body image and her irritation at those women whose only ambition in life is to have a wedding, but remembers to keep the gags coming without any preachiness.

There's the occasional lull, but some wonderfully curated lines – even if one or two are too subtly relayed for the audience to get the full effect. But Fairburn has great stage presence and is fun to spend an hour with.

  • This show is on Go Faster Stripe, part of its fund-raising project for the Trussell Trust, inspired by Mark Thomas in conjunction with the site's founder, Chris Evans. Each week in Comedy Benefit Download a comic makes a show free to download in return for a contribution to the charity. This week's contribution show is by Richard Herring. www.gofasterstripe.com
Fairburn gives a lot of autobiographical detail, not least that she still has posters on her bedroom walls

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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