Briony Redman: Secret Show (1 star)

Audience participation from hell and a sketchy show with few saving graces

comments (1)
Briony Redman: Secret Show

Having claimed during the course of Secret Show that she took up live comedy to conquer a fear of public speaking, you'd think Briony Redman might have a little bit more empathy towards shy audience members. You can ask a reluctant person up on stage to perform a routine (here a flight safety demonstration) which doesn't work out as they clearly don't want to be there: it happens all the time. So, going back later to drag that person up again to relive that exact same scenario (but this time alongside another audience member who is clearly far more confident) is an act of unforgivable humiliation.

This toe-curling moment is all the more terrible given that Redman seems like a perfectly decent person, but her attitude displayed here and general lack of gags in an empty character-strewn show makes for a pitiful experience. There are tedium-laden running skits about a wannabe dance superstar and a noirish private eye, while the sequence of a serial killer trying to negotiate their own notorious nickname is horribly drawn-out.

Redman has a wide-eyed enthusiasm that she could no doubt bring to a better project and hopefully she tackles other shows with a little more sensitivity.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug, 1pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8).

Briony Redman: Secret Show

  • 1 star

Briony Redman Shh, it's a surprise. A wrapped parcel of comedy, sketches and storytelling. Some secrets will be told, others will be kept. Seriously, to tell you more would be considered spoilers. There will also be a very special guest star! I've said too much. Debut solo comedy show from one half of Surname &…

Comments

1. Aidan Bose-Rosling3 Sep 2016, 6:04pm Report

Dear Brian,

Respectfully, I completely disagree. I was also a reviewer at the Fringe and saw many shows that involved audience participation. Briony's was perhaps the gentlest show to use audience interaction; believe me, I saw many shows that were intrusive or unsafe in their engagement with the audience.

If you're interested, I actually wrote an article on inappropriate audience interaction for my reviewing organisation, Fringebiscuit: http://fringebiscuit.co.uk/?p=669

I can't judge the discomfort of the audience member you are referring to as I didn't attend the same show as you, but at the show I attended Briony was very sensitive to audience comfort and had a badge system to allow audience members to avoid being called on if they didn't want to participate. Audience shyness or uncertainty isn't necessarily bad in theatre as long they are treated well and given the option to refuse interaction should they choose to. The thing which I object to is when audiences are not given the option to stop an interaction or are harassed, which I think is the point you are trying to highlight. But I just don't think Briony's show is guilty of this.

Obviously people are free to disagree and have individual opinions, and I respect your right as a reviewer to write about a show however you choose. But I sincerely think many other shows at the fringe are far more disrespectful to their audience than this one, and Briony treated her audience as well as one can if one is to engage in that kind of participation at all.

This is an important topic to discuss, as people do have very different opinions on it. While I strongly believe you're wrong on this one, I appreciate your thoughts, and wish you all the best.

Sincerely, Aidan Bose-Rosling Fringebiscuit Reviewer/Writer

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