Juliette Burton @ Gilded Balloon
Juliette Burton’s set is sugar-sweet but too kind for great comedy
Dare to be kind is the message of Juliette Burton’s show, and while that sounds as sweet as candy floss, it’s not quite as insubstantial. Burton’s persona is a familiar heroine: classy, polite if verbally clumsy, and smiling through it all, but she’s not ineffective. It takes some time for the expectation of a twist or sting to ebb away; perhaps it’s cynical, but so much good-natured kindness is, at least at first, unbelievable. Yet from this Burton drills down into feminism, family and, most significantly, the realities of mental illness with an unflinching honesty and perpetual good humour.
However, when she introduces other characters this nuance disappears and instead she wheels out familiar stereotypes – a pushy New York Jewish therapist, or the overbearing middle-class mother so familiar from Bridget Jones and Miranda. Accordingly, the first fifteen minutes of the show feel very stagey, more like a dramatic monologue than an involving stand up set. The final few minutes veer the other way, into a very earnest plea for kindness that’s high on information and low on jokes.
In between there are rumbles of laughter, but no outright thunderclaps – some of her punchlines hang a little loose. The show ends with a moral, not a laugh, but as at least some of her dares are being performed, bringing real acts of kindness into the world, it would be churlish to reproach her for it.
Juliette Burton: Butterfly Effect, Gilded Balloon, Teviot (Wee Room), until 27 Aug (not 14), 4.30pm, £7.50-9.50