Kate Smurthwaite: The Last Mayor Of Fihalhohi
- Jay Richardson
- 20 August 2021
Politically astute comic hits the Fringe with amiably entertaining tales from an exotic lockdown holiday
Like many single comedians, Kate Smurthwaite was largely deprived of an audience over lockdown and struggled with loneliness. But unlike the majority of her stand-up peers, she didn't miss out on those rare life experiences that tend to inspire anecdotal shows. Through a combination of guile, desperation and disdain for government guidelines, in January she managed to flee the UK for Fihalhohi, a tiny tropical island in the Maldives.
Largely eschewing her usual, politically engaged routines, this is essentially a wry account of a holiday. Albeit it's one given an almost otherworldly sense of exoticism by the fact that so few of her audience will have left the UK recently, let alone gone scuba diving or acquired their catamaran sailing licence. Whether through social need, a storyteller's instinct to seek out a bit of drama or a combination of both, Smurthwaite managed to befriend or fall out with the few other inhabitants of the island during those long months she spent there, becoming the titular mayor through some pro-active engagement and wheeler-dealing.
While never laugh-a-minute, it's an engaging enough tale and there's even an attempted murder and some casual copulation. A sex-positive internationalist, the funniest parts of this show are reserved for the contest she's engaged in to literally 'fuck for England', attempting to bang a partner from as many countries as possible. At a relaxed, reduced Edinburgh, where everyone's artistically treading water somewhat in hopeful anticipation of a resurgent 2022 Fringe, The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi is an undemanding hour that amiably entertains.
Kate Smurthwaite: The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi, Banshee Labyrinth, until Sunday 29 August, 7.20pm, Pay What You Can.