★ ★ ★ ★
Her material is watertight, her jokes are very funny and I found her approach to telling them refreshing.
As debut hours go, I think Kelly Convey has pitched hers perfectly. Yes she's toured with the likes of Alan Carr and Russell Kane but that doesn't mean she'll sell out every night at the Fringe or that everyone will know her, which is something she addresses at the start of her show.
After asking the audience if they've seen her perform before, Kelly follows the expected responses of "No." with "Why would you have? This is my debut show. This show is about me introducing myself to you." - which is exactly what Telephone Voice is.
Some debuts, whilst very funny, well-written and well-structured, leave you wanting to know more about the person whose career you're hopefully going to follow for a number of years, but not this one, as we really get to find out everything we need to know about Kelly.
Told in chronological order, she begins with tales of her growing up in Chatham as a chav, even donning a Kappa jacket, big hoop earrings and a big gold chain to deliver that material - a chav starter pack if you will. But there's a reason why she chooses to dress like a chav and that's to make a very valid point about how we all judge each other.
We judge people on the way they look first and how they sound second - a recurring theme in Telephone Voice - whether that's feeling like she has to put on a posher voice in front of certain people or the surprise she felt when a homeless man she spoke to turned out to be posh.
After taking us through her teenage years, she talks about becoming the first person in her family (and probably Chatham) to go to university. After university Kelly worked her way up to Global Acquisitions Executive at FOX, but then she left the TV industry, began blogging and worked in the wine industry, before deciding in her thirties to become a stand-up comedian. A decision I'm really glad she made.
There's also tales of love - having appeared on First Dates how could she not? She talks about turning down Take Me Out and Love Island, settling down with her boyfriend and (not so) patiently waiting for him to propose. She might have appeared on one of the most awkward dates on First Dates ever (his fault, not hers) but it's her description of Take Me Out which really wins the room over. Another highlight for me are her impressions of her family, especially her grandparents who live in Spain. I don't know them of course, but I feel like I do through Kelly's performance.
Kelly is a natural performer who deserves larger audiences. Her material is watertight, the jokes are very funny and I found her approach to telling them refreshing. She's a voice we don't often hear in comedy and a much-needed one at that. Now we've all got to know Kelly - who she is, where she came from and where she's at in her life now - I can't wait for the next chapter.
Kelly Convey: Telephone Voice runs until 25th August (not 14th) at 7pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One). Book tickets here.