Comedy review: Claudia O’Doherty – Pioneer

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Claudia O’Doherty: Pioneer at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), reviewed by Jay Richardson

Much anticipated after her recent Channel 4 show Comedy Blaps and last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination, in a big room with an initially impressive holographic projector dominating the stage, Claudia O’Doherty’s unique, unwaveringly confident persona is overshadowed by her high-concept gimmickry. That’s obviously part of the joke here, but it ultimately holds true, and no amount of postmodern layering can obscure the fact that the Australian’s Fringe return is a disappointment.

Supposedly sponsored by technology giant Pioneer, the screen reinforces her own distinctive brand of self-aggrandisement. Despite having little in the way of talent, her fictionalised self showcases a number of ropey characters of her own, sings a tribute to her Sydney suburb of Glebe and presents holographic ghosts of her alternative selves, reflecting how life could have turned out if she’d not been destined for artistic greatness. But while few can sustain this fantasist sheen as O’Doherty does, couched in a potent mix of matey familiarity and bulletproof confidence, there is little more to her hour than that.

The few compelling, early stand-up aspects she treats us to are eventually overtaken by the one-note ruse of a gifted performer pretending to be a fame-ravenous, terrible one.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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