A gleeful lesson in trying your best
This article is from 2007.
Josie Long is already holding court about nothing much as the sold-out audience squeezes in. She happily assures us that this is not to make it seem like a piece of avant-garde theatre, that she just likes to chat. Following on from last year’s runaway success Kindness and Exuberance, which saw her emerge as the inaugural Eddies Best Newcomer, she tackles the difficult second show, Trying is Good, with the same apparent carefree ease.
Effort and the celebration thereof are the twin cruxes of her material. Long’s new ethos, following a time of self-doubt, is that to have tried and done your best is a result. She admires eccentrics and glorifies fellow try-hards in this delightful, delicious lesson in seeing the good in everything. With stories about joining the gym, music she likes, satsumas and fancy dress, her brand of minute observation isn’t dissimilar to Daniel Kitson or Demetri Martin, bolstered by the giddy infectiousness of a gleeful child.
Coupled with a distinctive delivery style, she labours on a joke for so long it feels like being verbally tickled into submission, and making you laugh until you think you might vomit, she appears to have carved her niche outwith the mainstream. She weaves her many props – sketchbooks, diagrams and photographs she’s surreptitiously taken of people – into the texture of a show bustling with charming silliness. This magical hour is a little bit shabby, completely and emphatically real and about all the things Long champions. Endearing and madcap, this clearly took effort, and you can’t help but smile about it. (Peggy Hughes)
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 20), 7.15pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9).