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Josie Long: Romance and Adventure
Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
5

5 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
Comedy
1-17, 20-27 Aug, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Anne Stirling

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

If you haven't seen a Josie Long show before, you won't know quite what to expect. Having seen a few of her festival shows in the past, I was expecting to be wooed and delighted by her celebration of those little things in life we take for granted or are too busy to stop and appreciate. Her unkempt appearance and unrefined stage presence are endearing, as she peeks around the curtains in the wings preparing to take us on a comedic adventure through her world. What ensued was certainly not what I had anticipated, but I was thoroughly entertained and inspired all the same.

The title of this year's show, Romance and Adventure, would imply Long's usual style of sweet observational comedy – but as Josie admits in her opening gambit, the title has nothing to do with the tenor of this show. She welcomes us into her head which is filled with frustration and cynicism about what she sees as the hypocrisy and lies of Tory politicians. She reveals her despair at the status quo and her idealised notions of how things could and should be in the future. She elevates her role (ironically) of comedian to that of a "lay preacher for socialism", and projects how she might, through comedy, change the world (or at least the British government) for the better.

What is remarkable about Josie Long as a comedian is that she is simultaneously self-deprecating and unapologetic about her supposed shortcomings. She is an exemplum for it being OK to be you, in a world that is telling you otherwise. Her asides are perfectly timed, and her various voices such as 1920s Man punctuate the show well. She parodies public figures such as Richard Branson and Ed Miliband in the hope that in the end they will someday – as she puts it – do some good, hilariously reinventing the things we despair about them and twisting them into hope.

While I missed her curious wonderment at all things random, I like this new chapter in Josie Long's repertoire. We are still, as always, proffered a show programme with her quirky sketches and suggestions of books and music she loves and uses in her show, which is a lovely memento of the hour we have just spent with her. And despite her energetic rant about how dismal things are for us politically, she leaves you feeling warm and optimistic about our own individual futures.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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