Disclaimer, this show may have my favourite title of the Fringe so far. Within the context of the hour, it is beautiful.
Sad comedy has become something of a Fringe staple in recent years – stories of deceased relatives or failed relationships that, at around the 50-minute mark, turn tears of laughter into tears of… well… tears. Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, however, bucks that trend wonderfully. Whilst still telling a really sad story, the ‘serious bit’ breakdown at the end leaves you wanting to shout ‘yes’ at the top of your lungs, instead of cry your eyes out.
I don’t really know enough about Beyoncé’s Lemonade to be able to comment on the many allusions to the album throughout the show, but if you are up on that then you should know this is story about a cheating boyfriend. The boyfriend mentally harassed Pritchard-Mclean over the course of many years. The fact that she has managed to craft such a gleefully, exuberantly funny show out of it is testament to the incredible talent of the comic.
Essentially just narratively telling the story of the mental abuse and break-up with her ex, Pritchard-Mclean has such a winning charisma and turn of phrase to manage to make even the most deplorable situation riotously funny. There is no discomfort, no unease, just an audience in awe at the sheer comic ability on display. A particular highlight is the recurring Scouse inner monologue, and their love of a chicken burger, which is excruciatingly funny. Further, the somewhat overdone premise of ‘argument with my partner where I pretend not to be angry’ transcends stand-up cliché to really fly.
There is no weak point to this show, and the breakdown at the end, whilst slightly lighter on laughs as it takes a more serious tone, comes out with a wonderfully empowering message, which is exactly the sort of thing the Fringe needs. I would be very surprised not to see this show shortlisted for the major awards in a week or two’s time.
Victim, Complex runs until the 27th of August – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kiri-pritchard-mclean-victim-complex-2
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