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Vikki Stone: Hot Mess
Published on Sunday, 26 August 2012
4

4 stars

Underbelly, Bristo Square (venue website)
Comedy
1-9, 11-13, 15-17, 19-22, 25 Aug, 7:20pm-8:20pm, 8:10pm-9:10pm; 10, 18, 23-24 Aug, 12:10am-1:10am, 7:20pm-8:20pm, 8:10pm-9:10pm; 26 Aug, 8:10pm-9:10pm; 31 Aug, 7:20pm-8:20pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

As Vikki Stone plonks herself down behind a white grand piano, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d mistakenly strolled into some kind of Kate Nash gig. Only, as you soon discover, Stone is quirkier, funnier, and possibly even a better musician. Famous for her Phillip Schofield song, she’s back in Edinburgh with an hour of whimsical comedy and music that proves she’s not a one-trick pony.

Last year Stone spoke of how she wanted to be on TV. She admits she’s an avid watcher of daytime programmes (it’s why she likes being a stand-up so much – she gets to “work nights”), but hastens to add that they should put warnings up with images of who else is watching This Morning; it would soon put you off.

There’s no cynicism or insincerity with Stone. It’s wide-eyed enthusiasm and passion. Schofield, her life-long infatuation, actually agreed to sniff some knickers for her music video, and she was even invited to perform the song live on mid-morning TV. It basically made her life, but she realised soon after that she needed to find real love. And being an unreliable idoesn’t help matters.

There are some fantastic moments of comic invention in this show, interspersed with song. After one number laying into the still inexplicably popular “gambling” show i, Stone introduces her home-made game board with 12 rather than 22 red boxes, and invites one audience member to pick from them. The prizes are a selection of cheeses, ranging from ‘value slice’ to ‘extra mature cheddar’. Stone confesses she’s come under some Twitter-related scrutiny for her placement of Red Leicester in the blue section, but no one seems to mind too much tonight.

Another highlight involves Stone dressing up a volunteer as stern Dragon’s Den businesswoman Hilary Devey (shoulder pads, jowls and all) – another celebrity she admires. It is these moments and the odd brilliant quip in her snatches of stand-up that draw the biggest laughs of the night. Whereas the music is cheery – and she can’t half bash out a tune – the songs never reach the same notes of laugh-out-loud hysteria.

Time whizzes past, like an over-zealous woman strapping bin-liners round her partner’s torso to make him look like the aforementioned Dragon’s Den Devey. Stone approaches the end of the show, and addresses a snooty critic from last year who used their review to list all the crude things in the show, to make some sort of point about how dirty it was. “Too crude for a lady” seemed to be the weird, out-dated suggestion. The only appropriate response was to write material about male genitalia.

Is the message here that Vikki Stone worries too much what others think of her? Is she overly concerned about working a message into her show? Is she getting bogged down searching for a meaningful message through song that we can all take away, and talk about for months to come? The only answer is to do an unprovoked encore… as Hilary Devey!

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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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