Rachel Fairburn: All the Fun of the Fairburn (2 stars)

This article is from 2014

Rachel Fairburn: All the Fun of the Fairburn

Weak material with a morbid slant plagues this Edinburgh Free Fringe comedy show

Talk about a baptism by fire. This barely-attended gig in a tiny room was Rachel Fairburn's début Fringe performance. No wonder the diminutive Mancunian seemed fazed at times. She wasn't helped by an intrusive audience member with a ridiculous attention-seeking laugh who sat squarely in front of her on the otherwise vacant front row.

It may seem unfair to judge her under these circumstances, but even with the best will in the world the material on offer is weak. An observational comic with a pessimistic outlook, Fairburn's likeability just about carries her along.

Her serial killer obsession forms a vague through-line without ever leading anywhere. At one point she resorts to simply reading lurid quotes from a book on Victorian murders. There are some nice moments – the Yorkshire police indulging the notorious Wearside Jack hoax tape because they liked listening to his accent – but it's slim pickings.

For all her sweary references to Fred West, she comes across merely as a chatterbox with a slightly morbid sense of humour. She survived this uncomfortable gig, but her stage persona needs work.

Laughing Horse @ Jekyll and Hyde, 225 2022, until 24 Aug (not 19), 12.45pm, free.