Joan Rivers, Udderbelly's Pasture, Edinburgh
Tuesday 12 August 2008
The diva of the snarky comment, the queen bee of comedy, Joan Rivers is, you sense, a real trouper. After the first airing in Edinburgh of her third theatrical show, A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, she grants an "audience" to a select, paying few. Genially, she invites us to ask her anything, tell her what we think of the show, and even touch her, as she poses for photos and joshes with a pushy camera crew. For Edinburgh (pronounced Edinbeeaaauuu, as if she's throwing up) she has inserted a few sly references to such Scottish icons as "Rabbie" Burns and Greyfriars Bobby, but the show leans towards Jewish-American life and humour.
At her age, she reminds us, "you're fighting every step of the way". She has repeatedly found her shows abruptly cancelled, coped with the suicide of her husband and a (now healed) rift with her daughter, Melissa, and carved out a new niche for herself in the cutthroat world of showbiz. It's all great material, though, which she shamelessly exploits, along with many allusions to plastic surgery.
It's funny and occasionally poignant. Sometimes she seems on the verge of tears, at other times she's brash, brushing off the encouraging applause. Funniest of all is when she's bitchy about other celebrities. "Victoria Beckham?" She puts on a squeaky voice: "Does this tampon make me look fat?" Rivers isn't running dry yet.
To 25 August (0844 545 8252)
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
Eurovision 2015: What date is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
Game of Thrones, season 5 episode 4, review: Sansa in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Noel Gallagher 'cannot wait' to hear Oasis-inspired One Direction album but rants about 'pointless' Tidal and Spotify
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show