Chloe Petts @ Pleasance Courtyard
Chloe Petts gets nasty in her rage-filled sophomore Edinburgh Fringe hour
Chloe Petts absolutely, unapologetically, full-frontally sizzles in her latest Fringe show. If You Can’t Say Anything Nice is a scorcher of an hour, and if the run wasn’t already sold-out, we’d implore you to buy a ticket ASAP [ed's note: at publishing time, there are some tickets left for an extra show on the final weekend – grab yours, then come back for the rest of the review].
Since her debut last year, Petts has been to therapy. She has anger issues, you see. But instead of unpacking her outlandish responses to otherwise banal situations (although, as she mentions, pavement-hoggers can do one), Petts straight-up rejects searching for the source. Instead, she has decided to lean in. What ensues is an hour of pure hilarity, as Petts recounts allowing her rage to surface in what quickly becomes a very dangerous situation, and trying to access her ‘happy place’ (the dancefloor at a wedding).
Petts commands the room. The low and slow drawl of her voice, and her ability to maintain an impassive expression whilst delivering the wildest, funniest stories means that we are totally enthralled. And it is whilst we are in the palm of her hand that her most impressive and important work is done. There’s a left-leaning agenda here, but she takes the soft approach. There’s merciless ripping into the 'virgins' that dedicate their lives to Just Stop Oil, there’s climate-crisis-induced vegetarianism (NOT flexitarianism), there’s political undercurrents to her depictions of gender. It’s all incredibly clever, because even if some of Petts’ crowd don’t share her political ideologies, they’re forced, in the most welcoming and charming of ways, to look them directly in the face.
Those that know of Petts’ previous work will know that this angry, ‘gay Andrew Tate’ is all but an act, and we return by the end of the show to the charming Petts of the past. This leaves us in the tantalisingly sweet spot of wondering where she’ll go next – assured that whatever direction she takes, it's bound to be brilliant.
Chloe Petts: If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Pleasance Courtyard (Above), until 27 Aug, 6.40pm, main run sold out; extra show at Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), 25 Aug, 9.30pm, £12-13