Zoë Coombs Marr @ Monkey Barrel

A free-flowing ideas machine, Zoe Coombs Marr leads the charge in the dismantling of a male-dominated industry

Review by James McColl | 12 Aug 2019
  • Zoë Coombs Marr @ Monkey Barrel

Zoë Coombs Marr is back from her self imposed hiatus of six years, spending the time as a male comedian in a neck-brace called Dave. Her show Bossy Bottom sees her return to the Fringe for the first time since the Comedy Award-nominated Trigger Warning in 2016. Marr promises to strip back her use of tech, big themes, and grandiose points to focus on telling jokes. Obviously disingenuous, the audience is nonetheless treated to the best of both worlds. A recurring joke re-starting the show feels like something her audience has come to expect and love about the meta-comedy stand-up.

A fantastic and inventive performer, Marr is a free-flowing ideas machine. She is original, innovative and above all hilarious. And yes, it would be hard to point out something in Marr's arsenal of work that doesn’t have some originality to it. While there is a focus on her return to stand-up, the show often bolts from one idea to the next with little explanation. She is happy to play with audiences’ expectations of stand-up and its form. There are a lot of bells and whistles in Marr's performance, though she isn't a comedian who needs them. She’s an act that has more to say than most, often cushioning how she feels with lighter visual gags. 

Serious routines are interrupted by visual jokes, either set up earlier or set up later, again playing with her meta-comedy reputation. Marr notes her longest relationship is with the audience, referring to all audiences as the same single audience she sees every night. This may be more revealing than she would like it to be.

Zoë Coombs Marr: Bossy BottomMonkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 4), until 25 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm, £8-10/PWYW