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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Josie Long: The Future Is Another Place
Josie Long: The Future Is Another Place
Published on Wednesday, 10 August 2011

5 stars

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
4-14, 16-21, 23-28 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Josie Long was always an interesting hybrid of the political and the whimsical. But whereas her last Edinburgh show – Be Honourable – was whimsy with a sprinkling of politics, the events of the last 12 months have firmly tipped that balance in the opposite direction.

Of course, angry or not, we still get serenaded in by Long herself, holding her iPod up to the mic to play songs and warmly welcoming everyone as we take our seats. She even explains that things may be more ranty than usual. And then she launches into a joyful, angry, enthusiastic, inspiring hour of comedy about power, politics, feeling disenfranchised… and what it might be possible to do about all of it.

It’s hard to imagine how this show would feel for someone who completely disagrees with Long’s politics. Long does occasionally offer apologies to anyone like that who might be in the audience, but also declaims “Tories” as the kind of people who don’t wait for other people to get off before getting on public transport.  Decrying the coalition’s cuts as “something a Bond villain would do,” Long likens the “Con-Dems” to “an 80s tribute government.”  With all this agitprop, I wondered whether Long’s show also marks a return to 80s style stand-up comedy.  But then, her style of comedy is too modern, too laid-back, and too whimsical (that word again) to bring shiny suits and giant shoulderpads to mind.

The effortless and clever trick of this show is to take something that could seem impenetrable and boring, and make it accessible. More young people seem to be getting involved in politics now than for a long time, but there is still a distinct lack of political comedy around.  I really admire Long's willingness to stand up for what she believes in, producing a show that she worries aloud might be less popular with mainstream audiences than her usual patter about swimming and science fiction novels.

One of Long’s strongest points is how comfortable she appears to be performing. She genuinely makes the audience feel like her friends. Last year, when she was happy and enthusing about breakfast, it made everyone feel enthused too. Now she’s angry…so if you’re one of those who finds the current political scene frustrating, Long’s infectious eagerness might be the perfect catalyst for change. I like her when she’s angry.

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