Skip to content

FringeGuru

Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2012 arrow Karma Comedian - Stella Graham - Free
 
Karma Comedian - Stella Graham - Free
Published on Sunday, 19 August 2012
4

4 stars

Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde (venue website)
Comedy
2-15, 17-26 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 18+ only. Venue may not permit under-18's - check with venue before booking.

It's easy to approach free shows with a degree of apprehension. However, when you find a comedian like Stella Graham, you wonder why she isn't playing to bigger crowds at bigger venues. While she still has a lot of work to do, I doubt there will be many free shows as good as Karma Comedian.

She is probably the only half-Sri Lankan, half-English female comedian to come out of Coventry, and a lot of her routine is based around these aspects of her life. Although she has lived in New Zealand for the past five years there are some attachments from her hometown she can't shake off. These include an overbearing mother and an overachieving doctor sister.

Rather than deliver routine monologues, she wants us to judge her, and her actions in the past. She tells the audience about something she’s done, and in return she wants the audience to tell her if she is going to heaven or hell for it – hence the ‘Karma’ in the show’s title. It's an innovative and fresh concept and one that the crowd responds to very well. In between, she also interacts with the audience in other ways, asking questions that keep the flow going (for example, what’s the worst song you’ve ever made love to?)

Graham is a natural on stage. She is confident in a likeable way and her one-liners are quick and well-constructed, with her Midlands/Kiwi drawl making the jokes even drier. Be it her teachers advising her to use a crisp packet in the event she didn't have condoms (an empty crisp packet, that is), or remarking how Aer Lingus sounds slightly pornographic, she delivers them all expertly.

What shines through the most, though, is her likable personality, cheeky without being too brash. Even when she did carry out some more sinister deeds, the crowd would still send her to 'heaven' simply because of the connection she created with them. And although some jokes were quite Coventry-centric, they seem to represent the feelings of most trapped souls in modern post-industrial cities.

What the show lacked in professionalism can probably be attributed to the fact that she has just started out. There were several jokes which did fail to impress, for example a story about hippies and methane gas which people just didn't understand. At times she used non-autobiographical stories to gauge a heaven or hell reaction, including one about Bear Grylls (a TV adventurer) which seemed totally out of context.  With regards to the physical side of her comedy this appeared slightly exaggerated and sometimes a little too laddish in its approach.

Overall, however, there are lots of negative preconceptions about the 'free show' label – that you will waste your hour, for instance – and Stella Graham confounds them all. In a few years, it will be a surprise not to see Graham rising up in the comedy world, as long as brings this good karma with her.

<< Gareth Morinan: Truth Doo...   St Andrews Presents - Bli... >>

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.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger