Louise Young @ Pleasance Courtyard

Feral is a hugely likeable debut from Best Newcomer nominee Louise Young which hits with both barrels

Review by Rhys Morgan | 29 Aug 2023
  • Louise Young

When Louise Young hits the stage for Feral, it’s impossible not to smile ear-to-ear. Feral seeks to, in Young’s words, discuss ‘class, chaos and dysfunction’. It does all this easily, confidently, and hilariously. It also does much, much more, and comprehensively exemplifies a natural and unquestionable comedic talent in their ascendancy. 

Young’s jokes don’t punch down or spare difficult topics, and these in tandem with her dynamicity produce payoffs that are utterly exothermic. Politics, sexuality, race, class and frankly harrowing mental health stories are all spring-loaded; Young’s absolute control ensuring the audience is barely given a moment to catch breath. Young has a brand of humour that is as funny as it is delivered with its pathos nailed to the wall. 

When Young is distracted by moments of conversation bubbling in the audience, in a sort of proto-reverse-heckle she throws acerbic quips at any troublemakers, her upbeat nature not once losing its prevalence. This is a comedian in control of their space. The audience interaction all feeds into a set that feels distinctly like a ‘set ‘em up, knock ‘em down’ scenario: Young is aware that these asides eat into the show as she has a lot of fantastic jokes to rattle through, and many traumas to glancingly address.

And yet, this doesn’t detract from the elements of the set that her writing intends to highlight; segments regarding her mental health history and its associated criminality and her sexuality are given room to breathe, before swinging into two of the set’s strongest punchlines (of which there are many to choose from). 

At the conclusion of Feral, the sense is very much that Louise Young has a lot in the holster, and the prospect, based on her debut Edinburgh Fringe show, is that it is all ache-inducingly funny. 

Louise Young: Feral, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), run ended
Follow Louise on Twitter at @LouiseYoung_