★ ★ ★ ★ ★
An hour packed with power, vigour and urgency.
Ten years on from her debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American comedian Desiree Burch has returned with her fourth hour Desiree's Coming Early which has proven to be her best work to date.
The show centres around the time Desiree attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada with her best friend Dave. Following the breakdown in her relationship, Desiree's main reason to attend the festival in Nevada was to her self-confessed "dick drought of 2018" and how taking acid fed in to her search for sex and enlightenment.
Stretching out one story across an hour can sometimes be a challenge, but not for Desiree who makes it look effortless. The hour starts off strong and just gets stronger with never a weak moment and certainly no filler. Each word uttered on that stage is earned and has a purpose.
Desiree has phenomenal stage presence, delivering an hour packed with power, vigour and urgency that leaves the audience hanging on to her every word. This makes for such an electric atmosphere inside a dark nightclub room in Edinburgh. I'm not sure if the energy is like that every night but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
Aside from her time at Burning Man, Desiree uses the hour to discuss Michael Jackson and what recent revelations mean for his legacy - she's not the only one at this year's festival discussing this, but she's perhaps the most eloquent. And her discussion around cinema’s "magical negro" stereotype is stunningly observed and articulated.
Occasionally, Desiree would step to the side of the stage to read from a ring-binder full of facts contains to educate us on the history of eugenics - a movement aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race.
From start to finish Desiree's Coming Early! is a masterclass in storytelling. It's personal, profound and political and the narrative builds to such a powerful climax that you'd be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying hour of storytelling at the Fringe this year.
Desiree Burch: Desiree's Coming Early! runs until 25th August (not 20th) at 7.40pm at Heroes @ The Hive (The Big Cave). Book tickets here.