It all begins with a suicide threat. Loren O’Brien is all alone. Her sketch partner, Amy, has abandoned her. ‘She was the funny one’, apparently. ‘I can’t do comedy’, she reveals. From the outset she’s tentative, stumbling her way through audience interactions, unsure what to do or where to begin. But her attempts at keeping those expectations low are unfounded; you can already tell that her awkwardness is probably some of the funniest you’ve ever seen.
More often than not, her undeniable charm allows you to forgive the filth and succumb to the hilarity of the situation.
A one-woman sketch comedy show ensues. How can that possibly work, logistically or figuratively? Well, O’Brien says she’ll give the show a go by herself and you’re suddenly relieved Amy’s gone AWOL. Immediately you’re nothing short of transfixed. And not even because she manages to unwittingly smudge the dye from a blue M&M across her face.
This show is a triumph of multi-tasking. O’Brien plays all the characters, flitting between American, English and Irish accents, between present day and flashbacks with pace, ease and finesse. Her delivery is faultless. Even when it’s supposed to go wrong, where she’s ‘forgotten the next bit’, you feel safe in the knowledge that her inadequacy is purely a well-oiled act.
We learn about all of her misgivings, a persona probably a little too real to be entirely fictional. We rocket from dating dilemmas to Irish grandmothers, from sexual exploits to pigeon-related violence. The dynamism and stamina of this woman is remarkable. Not once does the energy drop, not once do you lose interest.
The initial vulnerability is soon replaced by crudity. ‘You’ve just got to climb the dick ladder’, O’Brien maintains. But more often than not, her undeniable charm allows you to forgive the filth and succumb to the hilarity of the situation. A particular story of defecation comes to mind, but there’s plenty more where that came from.
aLOne is a brilliant debut Fringe performance. Grab a couple of wines, take a friend or five and revel in the freshness of this incredibly talented lady.