Helen Bauer @ Pleasance Courtyard

Helen Bauer's debut Edinburgh Fringe hour is an expertly-constructed meditation on honesty, loneliness, and the influence of our parents

Review by James Gladdis | 12 Aug 2019
  • Helen Bauer

Straight off the bat, Helen Bauer relays something of a trend she’s noticed at the Fringe: the tendency for comedians to have their shows culminate in a grand, poignant message wherein they leave themselves emotionally exposed to their audience. She’s quick to let you know that this isn’t a criticism, in fact she admires them, because she finds it entirely impossible to let herself be that vulnerable with anyone at all.

What follows is an hour of comedy so perfectly put together, you’d be forgiven for doubting this could possibly be someone’s debut show. Bauer darts across the stage, flowing from topic to topic with the know-how of an act who’s been onstage for years.

Bauer creates great rapport with her audience, with each engagement folding seamlessly into the next segment, though she mostly picks on girls with fringes and those who shop in the petit section – and who can stay the fuck out of her section, thank you very much.

Little Miss Baby Angel Face deals mostly with Bauer’s mother, Anne. A woman who founded her own drama school (which Bauer attended), believes her home is very much haunted and has a habit of taking a lie way too far.

Then the penny drops: of course we’ve been misled, of course there’s a poignant message, of course she allows herself to be vulnerable. To say any more would detract from the impact of this show.

Little Miss Baby Angel Face is, without doubt, a stand out show, let alone a stand out debut hour. A beautiful meditation on honesty, loneliness and the damage that our parents don’t necessarily inflict upon us, but that we possibly inherit directly from them.

Helen Bauer: Little Miss Baby Angel FacePleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), until 25 Aug (not 14), 6pm, £7-10