Claudia O'Doherty: Pioneer

Review by Bernard O'Leary | 05 Aug 2013
  • Claudia O'Doherty

Claudia O'Doherty introduced herself to Edinburgh in 2010 with a show that claimed to be in 3D. This year's Pioneer actually is in 3D, thanks to a stunning 20ft projection screen and some clever trickery with holograms.

Standing inside what looks like a giant telly, she uses her time to launch into a repertoire of her acting 'talents' while begging sponsors and producers to make her a star. A satirical dig at the nature of the Fringe itself? Maybe, although it's hard to deeply analyse something this fast-paced and hilarious.

Mostly, it's just an hour of O'Doherty being O'Doherty, and her stage persona is pretty firmly nailed down now. She's a bouncy, energetic Australian desperately lacking in self-awareness and struggling to hide her psychosis, a little like Sarah Silverman, but louder and with a very weak grasp on reality.

It's not as high-concept as her previous shows but that actually works in her favour. Without that one big idea at the centre, O'Doherty is free to do a little more standup, and this hour is littered with slapstick, sketches, killer one-liners and even the odd impression. Perhaps because of Daniel Kitson's direction, Pioneer is much funnier than her previous shows but retains plenty of those huge, batshit-insane ideas that have become her trademark.

Like her namesake David, Claudia O'Doherty has become one of those essential Fringe acts that you just have to see every year. Pioneer is perhaps not an innovation like 2012's The Telescope. Instead, it's a consolidation, building on her previous successes and firmly staking her claim as one of Britain's smartest, funniest and most original comics.

Claudia O'Doherty: Pioneer, Pleasance Courtyard, 1-26 Aug, 9.50pm, £ 11.50/10.50