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ED FRINGE REVIEW Aurie Styla: Green

Perfect and polished. There's an effortlessness to his style that's rare. Audiences are incredibly lucky to have him.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Comedian Aurie Styla has been able to tour and make a name for himself on the circuit without needing to perform an hour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, so it's no wonder that his Fringe debut, Green, is so perfect and polished.

Aurie manages to create a proper comedy club atmosphere in the attic at the Pleasance Courtyard, with some of the best, most natural crowd work I've ever seen at this festival. Hanging onto every anecdote, reference and joke from the get-go, Aurie's audience feel comfortable in his presence. They're in safe hands.

The pandemic, from the shows I've seen - apart from Tim Key and now Aurie Styla - appears to have been largely sidelined by those performing at the Fringe.

Perhaps there was an assumption that we didn't need or want to hear about what we've all been going through. But of course, one thing that can really help audiences enjoy a comedy show is relatability and when in our lifetime have we all, without exception gone through the same thing? So Aurie is wise to lean in on this, although it's not for the entire hour.

The hour begins with Aurie talking with great warmth, heart and humour about his 89-year-old gran. The way she dealt with the pandemic, her thoughts on the vaccine and the time he received a call from the hospital that made him rush to get to London from Leicester where he had been performing.

Now, I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but when Aurie makes an observation about the way Netflix behaved during the pandemic with their recommendations, it's difficult to argue with him.

Pandemic and Netflix aside, Aurie also reveals the high-street death which hit him hardest, why he was upset with Joe Wicks during the lockdown and the experience of moving to a village. And no, not Emmerdale Farm.

Aurie spends a large part of the show discussing therapy. Now, talking about therapy on stage isn't something new. Thankfully conversations around mental health have improved greatly in recent years and there's less stigma attached to admitting to having a therapist, but there's still a way to go.

The way in which Aurie tackles the topic in his show is refreshingly upbeat and not an approach I've ever really seen before in comedy. There was a clear point to the story he was telling of course, which never felt preachy or worthy and instead was just bloody good advice. And he's right of course, men don't - on the whole - have the same support network of friends as women might.

Of course, this isn't Aurie's first hour of comedy. He already has four tour shows under his belt and it's evident in his performance. There's an effortlessness to his style that's rare. Aurie looks incredibly comfortable on the stage with a mic. It's clearly where he belongs and audiences are lucky to have him.

With over a decade in the game, should it have taken a run at the Edinburgh Fringe to cement Aurie as one of the best in the game? Absolutely not. But we are where we are and thank god he didn't give up.

Looking ahead, if success and opportunities don't fill Aurie's future, something is wrong.

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