Zoë Coombs Marr @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Review by Polly Glynn | 16 Aug 2016
  • Zoë Coombs Marr

Zoë Coombs Marr's Barry award winning show is the Inception of stand-up

Like a millefeuille, this show is both multifaceted and difficult to bake. And by bake, I mean mentally digest. In a show within a show within a show, Trigger Warning discusses inherent sexism primarily through an appalling male stand-up named Dave.   

Dave is very much real and alive in today’s world, despite the show’s claims that he doesn’t exist. He’s a disgusting chauvinist, in awe of dick jokes and casual harassment. He’s also a reluctant clown; a terrible mime forever being pulled back to telling jokes that’d feel at home in Jongleurs. It’s only when Dave reveals his real clown, a cranky, 30-something lesbian by the name of Zoë, that things start to turn more meta.

Frequently zooming in and out of this Inception-like framework, Trigger Warning highlights the injustices within society from a compelling and unique perspective. Both ironically awful and brilliant clowning (with many a mention of the infamous École Phillipe Gaulier) elicits most of the laughs alongside Dave’s groansome patter, but it’s the showstopping final ten minutes which are the best. It’s a complex culmination of callbacks which force-feed Dave his just desserts.

This is by no means a relaxing watch, but it is a clever and meaningful one. It's also one which is hard to stop thinking about.


Zoë Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning, Underbelly, Cowgate (Iron Belly), 4-28 Aug (not 15), 6.50pm, £7-11