Celya AB @ Pleasance Courtyard

There's a quiet magnetism and assured ease to the Edinburgh Fringe debut of French-Algerian comedian Celya AB

Review by Anita Bhadani | 16 Aug 2022
  • Celya AB

An emerging talent to keep on your radar, Celya AB’s set is delivered with a quiet magnetism and shows she has something very special to offer. The French-Algerian comedian’s debut Edinburgh Fringe hour covers everything from learning to swim at the age of 25, to her experiences immigrating from Paris to Birmingham, to her dating life, bisexuality, and past affinity for metal music.

Tackling both light and complex topics with a casual charm that means you can’t help but warm to her, Celya AB intersperses storytelling with more physical impressions. At points she makes puns that elicit a few groans – but it's testament to her skill as a comedian that there’s an implicit understanding that these few moments are *meant* to be groan-worthy and silly. "I'll take what I can get!" she responds, grinning. Another interesting moment comes as she deconstructs the trope of a “pick me girl”. “A pick me girl is a girl who says ‘she’s not like other girls’….but calling a girl a ‘pick me’ is just like saying ‘I’m not like those other ‘pick me girls’” she points out the irony, laughing.

Delivery-wise, she floats across the room with an assured ease, joking with the audience and seeming completely at home. She isn’t afraid to get weird, either; the end of the set sees her act out a range of gags drawing on her set that brings the show to a satisfying, hilarious close. With Swimming, Celya AB proves she is definitely one to watch, and it’s definitely worth making time for her this Fringe.

Celya AB: Swimming, Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), until 29 Aug (not 16), £10-13