Comedy review: Tig Notaro – Boyish-Girl Interrupted

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Tig Notaro – Boyish-Girl Interrupted at Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14), reviewed by Jay Richardson

Best known in the UK for her candid, onstage confession that she had breast cancer, sympathy and fellow Americans in the crowd might explain the whoops and cheers that greet Tig Notaro’s full-length debut in this country – but not the effortless mastery she wields over an audience.

Transmitting relaxed, quiet confidence, with minimal expression and a dry, understated tone, she establishes her authority immediately. Taking her time, a whimsical, casually offered routine about whether she is growing her hair out and a very funny bit on how her breasts conspired to kill her because she always spoke ill of them, may seem like little reward for her opening 15 minutes. Not least as she spends a further 15 riffing with the crowd on the spelling of “diarrhoea”.

But she playfully and effectively sets up uncertainty about whether she is ever telling the truth, a tactic that permits her to make light of dark episodes in her life and have a lot of fun manipulating expectations and stand-up’s supposed spontaneity.

How much of her clown horn honking longueur or the hugely over-running, deliciously anti-climatic final set-piece are ad-libbed it’s tricky to tell. Not much I suspect. You admire the exceptional skill while fretting that you’ll miss your next show.

Until 25 August. Today 6:45pm

Originally published in The Scotsman

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