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Fringe review: Lucy Porter: Pass It On @ Pleasance Courtyard

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Lucy Porter, described last year as “unapologetically middle class” returns to the Fringe this year with a show inspired by the legacy of her parents, and the collection of creepy glass clowns and interesting cat-shaped teapots she inherited.

In fact, these heirlooms sit on either end of the stage on little tables – upon first glance, it is difficult to work out what exactly they are (my guess was gnomes). This simple set, confusing to begin with, provides the theme to the show – what do we leave behind when we go? What do we pass on? 

Porter’s style of comedy is friendly, fun and quintessentially British. With continued references to Marks and Spencer, the menopause and George Michael – littered with puns and tongue-in-cheek humour – she engages the whole audience with her balanced blend of storytelling and jokes. Despite a large focus on the problems associated with being middle aged, this show can and does appeal to any age group. Like many comedians, Porter engages with the audience, picking out three people – one young, one middle-aged and one ‘elderly’. She refers to them by name throughout the show, without being rude or patronising, which is a trap many fall into. This created a warm, friendly atmosphere – which, paired with Porter’s bubbly personality, set the stage for a great show.

One of Porter’s main talents is her ability to talk about serious issues (death, politics, Brexit) using light-hearted comedy, whilst appearing as a very normal and down-to-earth person. In a city that is filled with celebrities throughout August, it can be rare to come across a comedian like this. Always smiling, Porter discusses the recent death of her parents using funny (if not slightly scary) objects, and compares Tony Blair to the Microsoft Paperclip (offering help when he’s not really wanted). This careful enmeshing of the serious and the funny creates a kind of comedy that people can relate to, whilst also addressing issues that matter.

Porter ends with saying that most shows should have a positive message at the end, but this one doesn’t. I beg to differ. Pass It On allows for careful reflection, through warm and well-executed comedy, about what our lives are worth and how we choose to live them, and is a must-see at this year’s Fringe (for those middle-aged and not).


Lucy Porter performs Pass It On at the Pleasance Forth until August 26th (not 20th) at 5.30pm. Click here for tickets and information.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 
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