Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Louise Reay: It’s Only Words, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson
Trained by the acclaimed likes of Phil “Doctor Brown” Burgers and Eric “Red Bastard” Davis, Louise Reay has taken her contemporary clown education and applied it to the statistic that only 7 per cent of communication is verbal.
And so, with one of the most insanely high-concept undertakings at the festival, she’s resolved to perform entirely in Chinese for people who don’t speak the language.
Launching into her nonsensical babble, at least to my ears, you can vaguely grasp her intentions from the odd western noun or burst of colloquialism. But what then emerges is that language will primarily serve as affirmative and negative noises, as she drags up a series of audience members to act out scenarios in the manner of The Boy With Tape On His Face. Again, there’s a bit of forgiveable corner-cutting here, as she relies on EastEnders alongside other romantic and religious rituals. There are chuckles in her marks misinterpreting her instructions.
But this always seems like an experiment rather than a properly conceived comedy hour that might stand or fall without its academic inquiry. Regardless, Reay is breezily engaging and she’s to be commended for such a bold venture.
Just the Tonic at The Community Project (Venue 27), run ended
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Check out today’s half-price ticket deals
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest