Alexandra Haddow @ Pleasance Courtyard

Alexandra Haddow hilariously shares the defining moments of her life so far in her debut Edinburgh Fringe show Not My Finest Hour

Review by Sarah Hopkins | 09 Aug 2023
  • Alexandra Haddow

We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a current cultural movement, a new genre if you will, and it’s quickly becoming part of the zeitgeist. It’s millennial women – through art, literature, stand-up, or telly – telling the story of their life so far. More often than not, these stories are of endurance, suffering and/or betrayal, and of perseverance, of female solidarity and strength. They’re told with a wry smile and, usually, a heap of sarcastic self-deprecation. Alexandra Haddow takes her turn with her debut Fringe show Not My Finest Hour; there’s sex, affairs, celebrity Instagram apologies (another defining feature of this generation) and a whole lot of laughs.

Haddow tells the audience of her mishaps (and there are quite a few) with such generosity and willingness that even the most unrelatable content becomes, somehow, relatable. She unashamedly recounts losing her virginity, and the resulting humiliation of being dumped a day later, with the kind of confidence that goes hand-in-hand with this type of oversharing. That being, slightly apologetic but mostly earnest and, for the listener, hugely enjoyable. It works. Perhaps it’s Haddow’s background working in the illustrious dreamscape of noughties women’s magazines, the shared camaraderie in embracing the now-recognisable internalised self-hatred, or the fact that each anecdote is punctuated by a perfectly delivered punchline, but each segment of this routine (no matter how idiosyncratic) lands.

There are moments of insecurity (‘Too dark?’ she asks, after a relatively safe joke) but these instances are fleeting, and few and far between. There’s also room for more physicality, but then, given the aforementioned influx of these types of shows, maybe this is indicative of simply not being allowed to occupy such space before. Regardless, there’s no doubt that Haddow’s darkest hour might well become her brightest. This is an endearing and hilarious debut, which we're sure will see Haddow secure her spot amongst the greats of this new genre.

Alexandra Haddow: Not My Finest Hour, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Two), until 25 Aug, 6.55pm, £11-13