Edinburgh 2013: Rachel Parris: The Commission - This musical comedian is in her springtime


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The Independent Culture

Imagine if you worked in advertising and then daubed subversive messages on street hoardings in your spare time. That's pretty much what the jingle writer, comedian, actress and improviser Rachel Parris is up to in her debut solo show.

A member of the celebrated Austentatious improv troupe, Parris has come up with some anti-ditties to wipe the smile off Disney's face and send up the X-Factor generation. She also sings of the joys of tepid romance, at least until something better comes along, and, to an RnB groove, of the sexual attraction of ankles.

"It's a narcissistic career showcase, much like Russell Howard's Good News" jokes the songstress at the top of the show, demonstrating early on her gift for the sly. Her asides are as crisp as her unchanging vocal style (an operatic Alanis Morissette for the most part) and she rarely misses an opportunity to squeeze more out of a line: "I stopped drinking... vodka... when alone..."

Parris' poise is dominant, but her character's vulnerability via the back story of her friend and flatmate who has moved out to live with her fiancée. If anything, the patter of this musical comedian might even be stronger than her songs, but as a proposition, Parris is in her springtime.

Until 25 August (Free Festival)