Harriet Kemsley @ PBH Free Fringe, Voodoo Rooms
A masterful hour by Harriet Kemsley from start to finish
The first fifteen minutes of Harriet Kemsley’s latest Fringe offering Slutty Joan play out like a club set. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just a strange start for someone as indie as Kemsley to be making with her fourth Edinburgh show. She covers questionable decisions made while drunk, her own clumsiness, past reviews (one of which had asked audience members to stick with it until the end, as if they were prone to leaving midway) and even oversharing on Facebook. All passable topics for material but hardly cutting edge and certainly on the lighter side of the spectrum.
It doesn’t take long though to realise that Kemsley had been building, and by the end you understand that all the pieces matter. Her implied 'ditzy-ness' only serving to lull you into a false sense of security that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She seems hurried throughout, at times rushing material as if she’s got to get somewhere else. When she finally arrives at her destination you’ll find one of the most rewarding shows of the Fringe and a treatise on the #MeToo movement that makes it all the more relevant. Just make sure you stick with it until the end.
Harriet Kemsley: Slutty Joan, PBH Free Fringe, Voodoo Rooms (French Quarter), 4-25 Aug (not 13), 5:55pm, Free
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