Hannah Fairweather @ Just The Tonic, The Caves

Hannah Fairweather's first Edinburgh Fringe hour is a satisfying, therapeutic vent

Review by Anita Bhadani | 10 Aug 2022
  • Hannah Fairweather

Processing the pain of being wronged can take the form of learning (and unlearning) ways of coping, but as Hannah Fairweather shows us through Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge, the vent is of equal therapeutic validity. As she puts it: “I’m going to talk about rights and wrongs – why I’m right and how I’ve been wronged”.

There is an art to a satisfying vent. Firstly, it should lay out the reasons for your anger with clarity: Fairweather has a list. She pulls out the names of those who have wronged her and talks us through how each earned their place (much like Santa’s naughty or nice list, she notes, but nobody judges him).  

Next, the vent should ideally be, at least, tangentially relatable to your listener. Fairweather tells us of attempting meditation but finding herself spiralling instead: very relatable. Throughout the show, Fairweather (a self-professed Taylor Swift fan) draws parallels between her own experiences of facing frustrating situations in male-dominated industries with the misogyny that Swift has faced throughout her career. This adds a unique dimension for Swifties and non-fans alike, though it might have been interesting to see her grapple with some of the recent, more valid critiques of Swift’s affinity for private jet travel.

Lastly, the vent should be distinct from the ‘trauma dump’. Through venting you feel lighter for giving voice to, and processing, your struggles whereas the ‘trauma dump’ is less restorative than it is draining. Fairweather tells us with sincerity she doesn’t want to perpetuate a ‘sad clown’ trope, cynically mining trauma for laughs. Indeed, her set never veers into this; even when making light of the dark, there is a candour to her set that is refreshingly hopeful. Fairweather’s set is like a long voice note from your funniest friend that you’ve always got time for – it’s well worth making time to see her set at this year’s Fringe.

Hannah Fairweather: Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge, Just The Tonic @ The Caves (Up The Stairs), until 28 Aug (not 15), 2.25pm, £5-7