Aisling Bea, Edinburgh Fringe review: rising star of comedy is still finding her voice

The Irish stand-up tackles her upbringing, celebrity and shame in her second show

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The Independent Culture

Aisling Bea made a attention-grabbing debut at the Fringe in 2013 when she was nominated as Best Newcomer at the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Since then her television career has skyrocketed with parts in Trollied, The Delivery Man and a British Comedy Award for Best Female TV comic, so it is unsurprising that this follow-up show feels a little underdeveloped, a little rushed in parts.

It’s still packed with plenty of smart lines about her rural Irish upbringing and American celebrities like “Kanye Kardashian”, all of them delivered with Bea’s characteristic motormouth charm. Her material about Ireland is evocative, affectionately mocking and occasionally - in the case of the abortion laws - sharply satirical. And her crowd-work shows her at her best – warm, quick-thinking, light on her feet.

After a slightly slow start in which the links between stories are hard to discern, her loose central thesis about shame and confidence builds up a head of steam and she finishes with a crowd-pleasing coup about an embarrassing incident in her early career and the importance of owning one’s mistakes.

Bea is a firecracker of a performer, a clear star, and this show had flashes of the kind of stand-up she might become in the future. There are some quietly powerful political jibes while her willingness to mine more difficult aspects of her past than she did in her upbeat first show demonstrate that there is much, much more to come from Bea.

Gilded Balloon & Pleasance Dome, to 30 August (www.edfringe.com)

 

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