Luisa Omielan, The Counting House, review: Not your average comedy show
Edinburgh Festival 2014: The show picks up where last year's What Would Beyonce Do left off
Luisa Omielan is a phenomenon. The queue for this, her follow-up to What Would Beyonce Do? (WWBD?), a free Fringe show that became a smash-hit tour stretches down the stairs and into the street, a hyped-up line-up of “girls and gays” (her description), dressed up for a night out and clutching bottles of rose.
Before the show starts Omielan is on stage, gyrating to her favourite dance hits in tracksuit bottoms, trainers and a flowery bomber jacket. They won't stay on for long. Even her massive hoop earrings are flung aside eventually in a high-energy performance which strips Omielan to the quick - body and soul.
An Omielan show is not your average comedy show. There is dancing; there are clarion calls to the audience - “Upgrade yourself, bitches!”; there is a mass, weepy singalong to Adele's “Someone like you.”
The show picks up where WWBD? left off. Thanks to its success Omielan found herself in Hollywood where she was instantly told to lose weight. “Otherwise it's cream cheese adverts for you…” What did she make of that advice? Not a lot, she says, stripping down to her Spanx, grabbing her belly and hollering, “Do you know what this means? It means I go out for dinner with friends!”
That story is the springboard for an hour which tackles how women are perceived and how they perceive themselves. Amid the bras and bootyshaking, Omielan also dives into her own experience of depression. Why is it, she wonders, that she never knew that one in four people were on anti-depressants and yet she is told the ideal circumference for her thighs every day in magazines?
The show loses its way somewhat when it becomes a shrill empowerment rally and I would happily have swapped some of the sex tales for more jokes (those that she has show an earthy promise). But its giant heart is in the right place and this is one of the most uplifting nights out on the Fringe, with a spectacular ending to match.
Omielan is a refreshing comic voice, doing something that no-one else is doing. If she can harness her energy and drive properly, there is no doubt that she will become the megastar she already acts like one day very soon.
To 24 August (www.freefestival.co.uk)
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