Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Alice Fraser: Savage, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson.
Having initially sought to write a light-hearted show, fate intervened and led Alice Fraser to this darker, more thoughtful hour. Although it doesn’t always click as stand-up, Savage provides an ambitious and often poetic, existential musing on mortality inspired by the decline of the Australian’s mother, and the reactions it’s provoked in her and those around her.
Poignant and unsparing in its emotional vulnerability, the former Cambridge Footlight expresses herself eloquently and with a resonance that extends beyond her personal circumstances.
Happily as well, as her slinging on a banjo demonstrates, remains of that original show she hoped to perform survive in the daft, philosophical debate she participates in with the instrument, alongside some awkward teenage longings that she recalls in mortified detail.
And elsewhere, there’s grim, gallows humour in her account of being asked to follow an unfortunate, inspirational figure on stage. With a palpable feeling that the process of dealing with her mother’s illnesses is very much ongoing, this feels like a show still in development.
Fraser, however, is a distinctive and striking voice, unafraid of exploring deeply and with a penetrating wit that connects at a profound level.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters (Venue 272) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 28 August 2015
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