ED FRINGE REVIEW Lily Phillips: Smut

Smart, not smut. Lily's approach to telling rude jokes elevated her debut beyond the very word she’s hoping to reclaim.

Credit: Karla Gowlett

★ ★ ★ ★


Few, if any, debut hours at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe start off with an admission of having thrush, but after spending 60 minutes in the company of Lily Phillips at a bunker in the Pleasance Courtyard, there really was no other way Smut could have begun.


Some comedians never reference the title of their shows, but Lily does so on a couple of occasions across the hour, often to forgive certain jokes - "The show's called Smut" - but more importantly to explain how she wants to reclaim the sword smut, having learnt the true meaning of the word that's been used to describe her in the past.


With tales of sex, periods, her labia and various bodily functions, she leaves very few taboos out of the show, but it never feels gratuitous or without purpose. Lily's approach to telling rude jokes elevated her debut beyond the very word she’s hoping to reclaim.


Her material is at her strongest, and Lily appears at her most comfortable when discussing her Cocker Spaniel Blodyn, making incredibly well-observed similarities between her own experience of being a female and those of her beloved pet.


There’s hope when going to watch someone’s debut hour that you leave feeling as though you really know that person. Although you don’t often expect to learn quite as much as Lily offers up here.


There's a warmth to her delivery, like chatting with a friend, that's to really be admired here. Her approachable nature and relatable storytelling ensured that each audience member left feeling like they'd made a new friend. And that's key when introducing yourself to audiences for the very first time.


Part of the enjoyment of going to see live comedy is the shared experience it offers. The very thing we've all missed so greatly over the last few years. So I wanted to say to the lady sitting next to me who laughed consistently and with such delight, thank you. Hearing how much she was enjoying Lily's show, in turn, filled me with even greater joy than Lily's material was already offering me.


For someone who has worked as a dancer, a mermaid in a Fish & Chip shop window (no, really) and a princess at children's parties, it's as a stand-up comedian where I believe Lily Phillips has found her true calling.


With further confidence that only a run at the Edinburgh Fringe can offer, I'm excited to see where Lily takes her material in the future because all the ingredients are there to make her one of the funniest on the circuit.

 

Lily Phillips: Smut runs until 28th August, 7.25pm at the Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker One