Jo Caulfield: Cancel My Subscription

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Jo Caulfield: Cancel My Subscription at The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5). Reviewed by Martin Gray

So what’s Jo Caulfield been up to this year? That’s not a question you can ask of many Fringe regulars, as an awful lot of comics put together a greatest hits package or even bring back an old hit show.

But this isn’t a problem with Caulfield, who’s practically married to a big red notebook in which she writes down thoughts and ideas that may make it into the routine. Not everything is going to fly, such as a rather off-colour gag about her husband’s willy… which she shared, but it’s not in the act, honest.

What is in the act – well, the official one, anyway – are some great stories: the time a stranger decided to crash her group of girlfriends in a pub and how she got rid of him; a train ride that descended into a silent war of wills and crosswords; the consequences of trying to mop up every last freebie in a posh hotel; the loss of something very precious on a trip to Amsterdam. And much, much more, including dozens of splendid throwaway lines that had a packed Stand 1 in stitches.

As a teller of tales, the charismatic Caulfield is among the best; drawing the audience in with a thoroughly wicked warmth, turning gleefully down any potentially comic roads that present themselves, and grabbing the reins of her routine again without a hitch. She’s superb at reading an audience, with an ability to fixate on little things as an empathy-extending exercise like a blonde Bruce Forsyth.

As for the show’s title, Cancel My Subscription, it’s not the easiest thing to explain – and as it’s the culmination of a lengthy, hugely entertaining anecdote, I shan’t even try.
I will, though, advise that should you ever see Caulfield sitting alone in Pizza Express, by the window, smile and wave at her, and see what happens…

Until 24 August. Today 7:05pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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