Urzila Carlson – First Edition (3 stars)

Urzila Carlson: First Edition

A whiff of intolerance clouds an otherwise enjoyably fresh outlook

South African-born, New Zealand-based and big in Australia, Urzila Carlson might be making her Fringe debut but she's the antithesis of the wide-eyed newbie. Borne from plenty stage experience, she adopts a confidently brash and occasionally barbed persona.

Carlson's general through-line of 'live and let live' is slightly undermined by a one-sided takedown of those who have chosen to remove certain things from their plates (sugar and dairy for two) or those who are forced to eat differently because of allergies.

But as harsh as she can be on others, Carlson is equally prepared to pick apart her own flaws. Dubbing herself as a 'big unit', she thanks the West's charity work which resulted in all that free food being sent to Africa. While her source material can often be rather vanilla (airports, housework), her observations are enjoyably fresh.

Just as you feel you have the measure of Carlson's comedy and settled into being treated to a full hour of chattily caustic stand-up, she pulls a personal trauma out of the bag, knocking both First Edition's balance and the audience sideways. While it's certainly a moving story, it does feels as though it should have been saved for a separate show.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 27 Aug (not 15), 7.45pm, £10.50–£11.50 (£9.50–£10.50).

Urzila Carlson – First Edition

  • 3 stars

Urzila Carlson South African-born, New Zealand-based award-winning Urzila Carlson's natural, straight up style has audiences eating out of her hand the moment she takes the stage. 'Effortlessly likeable, a well-paced stream of belly-laughs' (Sydney Morning Herald). 'A refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous rage…

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