Jayne Edwards @ Heroes, Dragonfly

Jayne Edwards' new show as Top Bodybuilder Brian is an hour of lo-fi absurdism tackling working-class stereotypes

Review by Polly Glynn | 12 Aug 2019
  • Jayne Edwards is Top Bodybuilder Brian

Jayne Edwards is Top Bodybuilder Brian, a man who loves nothing more than his wife Linda, weightlifting and whey protein. He lives in a caravan in Rhyl and is an incredibly minor local celebrity. 

Complete with abs (drawn on) and top-quality sports gear (too small), Edwards embodies Brian and his lust for life. Well, as much as any mild-mannered, 30-something Welsh lady can. Edwards’ timid onstage persona feeds heavily into her portrayal of Brian, making a surprising contrast for his knuckleheaded, Brexit-esque exploits. And, although Brian is a cheerleader for the EDL, he’s a sensitive soul too, pouring his heart into an autobiography, co-written by the one-and-only Son of God.

The presentation is far from tight, but there are some superb gags to be uncovered. A lucid nightmare sequence is simultaneously unsettling and hilarious, as well as when we see Linda for the first time. Brian’s home training video is also a real home-made treat: slick is very much not the sought-after vibe here.

It’s an excellent exercise in inventive, immensely creative comedy, and much like other shows on at Heroes, Monkey Barrel and Free Fringe venues, Top Bodybuilder Brian shows the festival the value in silly, carefree hours of comedy.

On the face of it, audiences may dismiss Top Bodybuilder Brian as a shonky nonsense; too scrappy and strange to engage with. But stick around a while and you’ll see it’s a well-written, ludicrous hour.

Jayne Edwards is Top Bodybuilder BrianHeroes @ Dragonfly, until 25 Aug (not 15), 10pm, £5/PWYW