Tamsyn Kelly @ Pleasance Courtyard

Tamsyn Kelly shows real promise in her new Edinburgh Fringe hour, Crying in TK Maxx

Review by Polly Glynn | 21 Aug 2023
  • Tamsyn Kelly

Tamsyn Kelly is on the hunt for an unproblematic man. Preferably like pink, besplotched, beloved, rage-filled figure of 90s television: Mr. Blobby. He’s strong, he fucks shit up, he’s fondly held in people’s memories. Here, Kelly sets up a gentle through-line, connecting thin boys that look like coffee stirrers, looking for approval from chicken shop owners, and experiences with her own Dad.

It’s frothy, gossipy, observational comedy, perfect for a night out with the gals. Kelly regales us with her life missteps (shoplifting, cum) coolly, sipping on cocktails as she confesses. She’s endearingly giddy, darting about her stage, and you can’t help but wonder what an hour from the comic would look like if she veered into more physical comedy. We see a glimpse of it in her excruciatingly embarrassing retelling of an anal exam, where the details are enhanced by her kneeling on a stool in front of her audience (you can imagine where the story goes).

At times, the hour does feel like several good club sets stitched together, even though a theme can be drawn between them. However, her wrapping up feels a little too neat and convenient for what is, at times, an intentionally messy, bleak hour. Underneath it all, Kelly is an emphatic yet vulnerable performer with unique experiences to be heard in front of the middle-class Fringe elite, and a refreshing take on the debut hour.

Tamsyn Kelly: Crying in TK Maxx, Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), until 26 Aug, 8.40pm, £10-12