Kiri immediately won the audience over, whether it was her sparkling sequined leotard, the impression of a cat in heat or the brutal honesty with which she talks about her life and somehow manages to bring humour into the darkest corner. But you could feel the warmth in the room (and I don’t just mean the actual heat – Kiri kindly provided hand-held fans to keep us cool!)
Kiri’s show uses humour in exactly the right places, to light up the darkest corner, without undermining the severity of the experiences she’s sharing. It was easy to relax and trust her to take you on this journey. I’m reminded of comedian Tig Notaro, who also managed to find the light in the dark and used humour to take the audience long with her, in a way that doesn’t make you feel bad for laughing along with things that are, well, just awful. I admire any comedian who can take their own dark experiences and retell it to an audience with humour in such a skilled and light way – because humour makes everything easier to listen and to understand.
The show is first and foremost a comedy and a strong piece of entertainment, but it’s also an earnest attempt to help other victims of this domestic abuse, even those unwittingly going through the same thing. This touching, heartfelt show is obviously a hard show for Kiri to perform due to it being so personal, but the emotional performance does not ask for sympathy. Instead, she’s using the fact that a show can have a wider impact than on the audience to get her voice heard, and not just hers, those of so many other victims, no survivors, no, carbonators (go see the show!). And to use genuine humour as a tool for doing so? Well, all the louder those voices become.
The attempts at props to complement the storytelling didn’t work for me – a few drawings moved on a projector to illustrated certain words or points. I’m usually one to love storytelling props but these were too far in the background, physically and orally. If Kiri has addressed them throughout her re-telling, or if the items had said something at a complimentary juxtaposition to the story instead of the same words as Kiri, it would have added something. As it stands, the show wouldn’t have lost anything if the props were removed. But for me, Kiri's powerful, sparkling presence was enough.
This show was heart-wrenchingly, tear-jerkingly funny, with an honest sentiment and an empowering message. I’ll certainly be interested to see what Kiri does next!
Kiri – I’ll wear my carbonator badge with pride.
Pleasance Courtyard @ 20:00
More details and tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/kiri-pritchard-mclean-victim-complex