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Josie Long: Be Honourable!
Published on Tuesday, 24 August 2010

5 stars

Just The Tonic at the Caves (venue website)
Until 29 Aug (not 22, 23), 7:40pm (8:50pm)
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

Last year Josie Long missed the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in a decade.  She says that she didn't know what to do with herself.  In a way, I think the Fringe didn't know what to do without her, either; the Fringe isn't really complete without a Josie Long show.

But this year she's back, and Long's show about, among many things, political activism, porridge and space travel is a complete and utter joy from beginning to end.  Her pure enthusiasm for all the best things in life seems to cut through all the complexities and boil everything down to something very simple.  Doing the right thing, whether that be eating breakfast or (she says) not voting Tory isn't really so hard.  In fact, a lot of the time, the good thing to do is obvious.

Long greets us all at the door as we come in, and passes us a homemade 'zine full of silly jokes and details of funny conversations Long has had.  It's the best souvenir; its DIY punkiness and good-hearted charm sum up the show in perfect papery form.  This ethic even extends to the applique Kurt Vonnegut T-shirt Long is wearing, and the show certainly seems to be themed around (to quote his novel's title) A Breakfast of Champions.

More of this show is about porridge that any other comedy show I've been to.  Long makes a lot of suggestions for porridge toppings that, she says, make her so excited that she sometimes cannot sleep and misses her 'sex window' with her boyfriend.  Such is her power that I found myself eating porridge for my breakfast the next day.

Continuing the breakfast theme, another large section of Long's show is about her love for the flickr feed 365 Breakfasts by Walter Ezell, a man who took a photograph of his breakfast every day for a year.  She takes us through the images, pointing out captions and comments that give us an insight in Ezell's life, until we are as enthusiastic about his breakfasts as she is.  The story ends when she tells us about getting to talk to Ezell on the phone and, finding the conversation a bit disappointing, wonders what she had hoped for.  Eventually thinking she might have hoped that Ezell and his partner Jim would have offered to adopt her.

Long's enthusiasm is her trademark and it is one of the most delightful things about this show.  In fact, when she is pointing out the very cute comments on Ezell's website and exclaiming 'Walter, I love you!', I can't help thinking I sort-of feel that way about Long herself.  It might be a bit weird if I hoped for her to adopt me, though.  Then again, it might be hard to say no; apparently, she makes a lovely bowl of porridge.

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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