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Tiffany Stevenson: Dictators
Published on Wednesday, 25 August 2010

4 stars

The Stand Comedy Club (venue website)
4-29 Aug (not 5, 16), times vary)
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

By the time I attended this show, I was at that point in the Edinburgh Fringe maelstrom where 2.05pm feels like first thing in the morning.  I was also realising that dashing into a packed show in a small room (in this case the teeny-tiny Stand 4) just before curtain up, complete with a black coffee, a glass of water and an over-sized backpack, is never dignified.  Luckily Tiffany Stevenson soon drew attention away from my shambolic entrance, with a well-thought out, amiable stand up show that takes on rather more important matters.

I like stand-ups that step out of the self-interested, autobiographical mainstream to tackle bigger subjects.  I've sought them out this year, and found some very enjoyable shows.  In this case, the world's dictators are not a usual choice of subject for a young comedian doing an afternoon show; I really loved the extravagant scale of it.

Stevenson does talk about subjects closer to home too - but it is always framed around the nastiest dictators in history (not all of them are the ones you think), and what Stevenson thinks should be done about them.  She has some surreal suggestions on that point too.

Stevenson is happy and confident on stage, with lots of presence and a welcoming, slightly neurotic persona.  There maybe could have been more out-and-out jokes; a few stories were a little too whimsical and wandering.  But the jokes she did do, for example suggesting that with Obama's election the acronym POTUS should be changed to something rather raunchier, were great.

This is a neat, sweet show that gets extra kudos for tackling an offbeat subject in a surprisingly upbeat way.  Great hat too.

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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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