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ED FRINGE REVIEW Rosie Holt: The Woman's Hour

Smart, silly and satirical sketches. A highly-anticipated debut hour which doesn't disappoint.

Credit: Karla Gowlett

★ ★ ★ ★

Before the Edinburgh Festival Fringe had even begun, Rosie Holt had sold out every performance of her debut hour, The Woman's Hour, and had to add extra dates. Having spent an hour in her company in the Pleasance Courtyard Attic, it's easy to see why.

During the height of the pandemic, some actors and comedians took to social media to entertain, with a number of videos going viral.

One of those at the height of the movement was Rosie Holt who created multiple videos as those all too familiar parliamentary figures sent onto television shows to defend the government and those TV hosts who make it all about them. You know the type.

But with millions of views online, it's not always easy to translate that same success to the stage. A number have tried in the past, a number are trying this year but in her debut hour, Rosie makes it work with a series of smart, silly and satirical sketches that makes the transition look far simpler than it is.

Highlights include a hilarious exchange between Liz Truss and Robert Person, a female Russell Brand caught up in a word salad and a Zoom call as her Rosie Holt MP character with Rishi Sunak and Dominic Raab that goes about as badly as you can imagine.

There's also a French wife of a Tory MP, Rosie's shock-jock character Harriet Langley-Swindon and an interpretive dance routine from Kirstie Allsopp which needs to be seen to be believed.

The production is endearingly stripped back, with costume changes made in full view of the audience and phone calls/voicemails from her agent or mother, which help to stitch each sketch together.

One of the advantages social media has over crafting an hour-long show over a number of months is the accuracy and speed to which Rosie responds to a situation with wit and hilarity.

So there was a danger that The Woman's Hour would feel dated in such a fast-moving world. But thankfully, it doesn't and I'm confident that should any breaking news happen, Rosie would be able to adapt. These characters are so well-observed that I feel they can turn their hand to anything.

The Woman's Hour is a wonderful introduction to who Rosie Holt is now. The unexpected success of her online videos have heavily influenced her debut and she manages to offer her audience what they expect and a little more.



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