Edinburgh Festival Review – Holly Burn

For every Jason the Very Rich Tiger there’s a woman who lives in a shoe, finds Jay Richardson in his evaluation of Holly Burn’s oddball offering, Living and Dying.

Holly_Burn2A decidedly varied hour of character comedy from the possibly unhinged Geordie, Living and Dying is daring, gloriously self-indulgent and quite unlike anything else you’ll see at the Fringe.

Beginning with her fatal shooting, the primadonna-ish Burn reflects that she’d preferred to have died for a worthier cause, yet throughout she criss-crosses a fine line between delighting and dying once again by testing her audience’s patience to breaking point.

Wading into the crowd and engaging directly, her banter is much more committed and less an unnecessary adjunct to her material than most comics, establishing a bond of trust that this tomfoolery is all leading somewhere.

Jason the Very Rich Tiger is an absolute card, a king of business flummoxed by internet drop-down menus and, unfortunately, children, while the sublime Custard Flanagan is a character-for-hire, making a living by creating doubt in people’s minds in a manner that’s surprisingly effective.

Still other recurring routines, such as the giggly girl who tips the contents of whatever she’s holding onto the floor quickly become irritating, as does a bizarre, extended riff on the woman who lived in a shoe.

Yet Burn constantly keeps the show romping along with clever little asides or a deft piece of improv – every quirky vignette adding to the tapestry – before suddenly focusing in on a memorable image like her oversized baby emerging from the womb. Doubtless an hour that will improve over the course of its run, take a chance if you prefer your comedy unpredictable.

Three stars
Holly Burn: Living and Dying is on at 3.35pm at Just the Tonic at the Caves, click here for booking.

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