Alice Cockayne @ Underbelly George Square

I Showered Before I Came is an hour of joyful madness from a new name on the alternative Fringe scene

Review by Polly Glynn | 21 Aug 2023
  • Alice Cockayne

Alice Cockayne feels custom-built for the Fringe. Tucked away in a small room, late at night, her show is a slice of alt-oddness, which despite being a little hit and miss, is enticing all the same.

Cockayne crams in a number of inspired ideas – a dog made from a wig, a Dolly Parton-esque seductress, unexpected inter-scene puppetry – delivering them with sensational energy. She’s also highly skilled at both verbal and physical clowning (the woman on a typewriter character descends into wheezing hilarity); the glimpses of it we see are magical. Visuals teeter between a sleep-deprived hallucination or an espresso sluiced atop raw synapses, imaginably even more so if you’re chosen to participate.

That said, a few segments come across a little stretched. The techno Xmas party feels overlong and too close to home for some, whilst the search for Spinach the dog becomes tedious after a couple of appearances. However, the crowd is gleefully sympathetic, with most revelling in its weirdness as if they’re taking their first plunge into this pocket of the festival.

Cockayne slips into characters effortlessly, pinpointing observations strangely closer to home than first appear. It’s smart whilst being spectacularly dumb. She’s breathlessly relentless: when she runs off to change into her next caricature, there’s a little relief that you don’t have to glue your eyes to her, lest she fold you into her chaos.

It’s a frenetic, funny hour which could do with, somehow, a few more quickfire ideas to keep the pace and gag-count consistent. At the moment, it’s a show perfect for a late-night punt and to say ‘I saw them here first’.

Alice Cockayne: I Showered Before I Came, Underbelly George Square (Wee Coo), until 28 Aug, 10.20pm, £10-11