Laura Ramoso @ Pleasance Courtyard

Laura Ramoso proves that her incredible TikTok success is more than a stroke of luck in her absurd and brilliant debut Edinburgh Fringe show Frances

Review by Sarah Hopkins | 11 Aug 2023
  • Laura Ramoso

Laura Ramoso’s TikTok videos have a combined ‘like’ count of 36.8 million. Amongst her most viewed videos are sketches of ‘my German mother’ – a stern, emotionless, black-turtleneck-wearing woman passing scathing judgments on her daughter, Laura (pronounced ‘Lao-rah’) – and ‘my Italian father’. I’ll leave that one to your imagination (it's mostly hand gestures). The videos are between 30 seconds and a minute long and are exaggerated to the point of absurdity but, most importantly, they are absolutely hilarious.

But here’s the rub: as the popularity of comedy content creators on platforms like TikTok grows beyond anything deemed imaginable on the ‘real-life’ circuit, the transference of 30 second sketches into one-hour gigs in front of sold-out rooms is no small feat. There’s an element of luck to virality, and it’s difficult for luck to run out in a minute-long sketch. Fortunately, in her debut Edinburgh Fringe hour, Ramoso proves that her success is not by chance.

The overarching narrative of Frances follows a former couple (Frank and Frances) agreeing to meet two months after their break-up. Disrupting an otherwise neat story arc are a series of sketches; musical numbers, well-travelled friends, audience participation, an open-mic night. The common theme amongst them is their increasing ridiculousness. Ramoso launches herself around the stage, no longer confined by the boundaries of a smartphone screen, and her impressive physicality is only one-upped by her immense vocal range. Her character switches, indicated by a slight tonal shift, are unmistakable and utterly brilliant. She is breathless by the end of the hour, the routine resembling a full-body workout, but it pays off, because so are we. The room is in hysterics.

Despite its silliness, the slickness of the show proves Ramoso’s commitment to her craft. I can’t say what will happen to TikTok, and all its content creators experiencing fleeting success, but of this I am certain: Laura Ramoso is here for good.

Laura Ramoso: Frances, Pleasance Courtyard (Above), Aug 10-13, 8.20pm, then Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), Aug 19-26, 11pm, returns only