There is something to be said for representation. The sheer joy gained by hearing a voice that sounds like your own, saying things you have thought (admittedly in this case in a significantly funnier way), is joyously humanising. That Rachel Fairburn, as a working-class Catholic school raised woman, is able to project such emotions (to which, as a working-class Catholic, I may be particularly susceptible), whilst still appealing to the middle-class woman in the front row she jokingly chides, is an incredible talent.
The People’s Princess is, in theory, an attempt by Fairburn to posit herself as a modern Diana – to take the crown left behind, as it were. This involves an in-depth look into Diana’s relationship with Prince Charles via a wonderful Hello magazine gag, and ends with an analysis of class differences, wonderfully pastiching the working-class world from which she came. The relatability of the hour shines through constantly, with chirps of ‘YES!’ mixing in with the laughs, from an audience clearly glad to get away from the university review shows lurking around every other corner.
Joke-wise there are some lulls, but for the most part it is an incredibly strong hour, with laughs coming regularly, applause breaks never far away, and a punch line about an Argos catalogue that may be my favourite gag of the year so far. This is clearly a honed act at the top of her powers, with a fanbase eager to take advantage of that.
The only issue with the show is that it is structurally slight. The theme of comparing oneself to Diana falls away quickly, and could do to be more strongly enmeshed. An opening story that inspired the Diana theme leads to a nice callback to close the hour, but for the most part it seems to be meditations on a topic, as opposed to a cohesive whole.
That is not to say this show isn’t enjoyable. It is more than full of laughs, and will come as a pleasant palate cleanser from the scores of middle-class men littering the streets everywhere else in the city this month.
The People’s Princess runs until the 25th of August – buy tickets here.
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