fri 21/06/2024

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Jake Lambert / Bella Hull / Jack Harris | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Jake Lambert / Bella Hull / Jack Harris

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Jake Lambert / Bella Hull / Jack Harris

Searching for a friend, Gen Z laid bare, and teaching teachers

Jake Lambert talks about his epilepsy

Jake Lambert, Pleasance Courtyard 

Jake Lambert warms up the audience by describing how much he enjoyed lockdown (despite a relationship break-up), and he suspects that football players enjoyed playing for a season without spectators too – “Whose job wouldn't be improved by removing thousands of people calling you a wanker?”

But the pandemic is not the thrust of Liminal, merely the way into its main theme. Lambert has epilepsy (a subject he has addressed before in his comedy), and tells a touching story – punctuated by big laughs – about how he came to be diagnosed, and the help Hannah, a German exchange student, gave him as he adjusted to his new reality. They lost touch after Hannah moved back home years ago and she doesn't use social media, but Lambert, a decade on from his diagnosis, was determined to find her to reconnect.

He takes occasional sidesteps to address other things that occur; explaining details of epilepsy, for example, the lies estate agents tell, or how social media takes over his life – as a story about meeting a guy at a baseball match in the States proves.

Lambert, a hugely likeable presence on stage, is a great storyteller, but is also a comic who delights in peppering his show with groaners that a panto writer would be proud of.

Until 28 August


Bella Hull, Pleasance Courtyard 

It's a mark of how expertly Bella Hull inhabits her on-stage persona of a vapid, self-obsessed Gen Z-er in Babycakes that there are several disconcerting moments when you might wonder if this is indeed an artistic creation or that the comic is simply detailing her life. “I'm a girlie-pops – cut me and I bleed pink gin,” she says at one point, before describing her ambitions for marriage, a kitchen island and eventual Milfdom.

But among the spoofery there are references to more serious issues – including her father's psychotic episode when she was a young girl, her bi-racial identity, suicide – although none is allowed to stay around for long before another pop culture reference hoves into view and Hull is telling us why Victorian women had it all, “except TV”.

Wrongfooting the audience is a clever device but the surfeit of silliness in Babycakes can sometimes hide the very intelligent – and witty – comedy about what really lies beneath. But this is an ambitious debut, and Hull is clearly a very talented writer and performer.

Until 28 August


Jack Harris, The Mash House 

Teaching Teachers How to Teach is the sort of show you hope to find at the Fringe: quirky, funny and by somebody you may not have previously known but whose hour you will remember.

Jack Harris used to be a science teacher in a secondary school, and now is a teacher-trainer. In his professional life he passes on classroom skills to trainee teachers, but in this show the audience become his latest recruits and he lets us in on the secrets of the trade – everything from a well-timed fart that can be blamed on a pupil, how to amass a cache of free stationery and the rules of surviving the dreaded parents' evenings.

There are several in-jokes; when deciding which area of teaching one of the audience should go into, he evaluates: “No discernible skills – you can be a geography teacher” and there's some subtle but scathing political comment delivered via the catch-all T&Cs that pop up on the large onstage screen. Harris is a convivial host, and just the kind of teacher you wish you had at school.

Until 28 August

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