Rachel Jackson @ The Stand
Rachel Jackson offers a brave exploration of OCD, accounts of close brushes with stardom, and some memorable character work
Almost Famous is an account of nearly making it – close brush after close brush with success and stardom. Rachel Jackson is disarmingly authentic, and joyfully honest about her intention to pursue fame at all costs.
But this show’s real purpose is to share Jackson's experience of OCD in order to help others, and this is where the hour finds its feet. Lots of comics perform material that they consider edgy or outrageous, but Jackson's admission that her OCD causes her to believe she's a paedophile (even though she demonstrably is not) feels genuinely taboo. It's a brave exploration that will no doubt prove educational for many, and it would be good to see her do more on this.
Jackson’s ability to inhabit a character also leaves its mark. Her skill as an actress lends itself to more performative storytelling (her show-stealing impression of legendary cannibal Sawney Bean is hilarious). Given this, you want to see her incorporate the talent into her sets more often, and a move away from the traditional meat and potatoes of conversational stand-up could see her carve out more of a niche.
Portions of Almost Famous have a bit too much explanatory padding and could do with sharper punchlines – the opening anecdote about meeting The Rock involves a lot of explanation and the pay-off (while exciting on a personal level) doesn't quite match up. Throughout the set, Jackson occasionally undermines her gags by explaining or repeating them. Even so, Jackson has such a relaxed and confident manner that you rarely feel uncomfortable or disengaged in the lulls between jokes. She keeps you entertained and engaged as she walks us through a lifetime of open auditions, trips on the Megabus, and comments about the width of her face.
Rachel Jackson: Almost Famous, The Stand Comedy Club (Stand 2), until 28 Aug (not 24), 1.20pm, £9-10