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ED FRINGE REVIEW Aisling Bea, Plan Bea


Aisling Bea is an Irish comedian who in the past few years has rarely been off our screens and her new Fringe show is loosely, the show is about childhood dreams, death, confidence and success.

When it comes to female comedians on the telly, Aisling Bea seems to be right up there. Never one to shy away from a panel show appearance she can often be found lying on Would I Lie To You?, cracking jokes on 8 Out of 10 Cats and guessing the song on Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

For someone who only made their Fringe debut in 2013 that's pretty good going, but then again she was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards that year so it was clearly a strong debut.

I was obviously aware of her work on panel shows and Trollied but I had never actually seen any of her stand-up.

On the way in to the gig the usher informed us that there will be a British Sign Language interpreter in tonight. Fine, I thought, not entirely sure why they felt the need to tell us, as if anyone would complain.

Predictable jokes out of the way first, Aisling referenced the fact that this guy (Paul) was there and said "Oh. Don't worry, I see him too." signalling to Paul. But then as the show went on the camaraderie between the two of them was great, Aisling would often involve Paul in her routine, mainly when she'd say rude words to see how he would interpret them.

Then came the words "fanny flaps" forcing Paul to seemingly make up an action for that, the same way you or I would. Aisling spotted this and could not stop laughing, pausing her routine for a moment, and it was perhaps at that moment that the audience truly fell in love with her.

For only her second year at the Fringe, Aisling had a confidence and an energy that I wasn't expecting. From the moment I walked into the room, Aisling was already dancing (and I use that word loosely), dressed in a rather freakish looking skin suit, which at the start of the show she instructed a male audience member to remove.

When it came to her rehearsed material, it was strong but at times could have been stronger. Shame and confidence appeared to be a theme, but I never truly felt that the boundaries were really pushed far enough, until her final anecdote which was by far her strongest story along with anecdotes of her and her sister, which were the most relatable.

I sadly didn't get to watch Aisling's show last year, so can't comment on how it compares, but I do get the impression that the amount of TV work she's currently (whilst great), might have impacted on the time she had to prepare Plan Bea. Like I say, I don't know but I can only hope that with a bit more time this show would have been even better. But surely that's the point of the Fringe? To learn, and come back the next year fighting, and I really hope she does.

Don't get me wrong, it was a very funny set, and stronger than most, but I truly believe that this is only the start for Aisling Bea, and I can't wait to see what she brings next. Like so many before her, she may have to choose between TV or stand-up if her stand-up material is really going to fly.

Aisling Bea: Plan Bea runs in Edinburgh until Sunday 30th August


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