To a comedian, the structure of their Fringe hour is often held too preciously. With pleasantries at the beginning, some foreshadowing, some shorter jokes, some longer anecdotes and a liberal sprinkle of “heartfelt sincerity”, many shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe come attached with a worrying level of factory line sentimentality. There is a strict format one must adhere to in order to win critical appraisal and awards, meaning there is significant risk when straying from that well-trodden path. In her new hour Bec Hill makes a point of torching that familiar track and is rewarded with the love of an attentive audience, put at ease by the fact that this is a show which proves you don’t need a weepy emotional subplot in order to have a heart.
Bec Hill is secretly one of the most original comic voices at the Fringe.
Out Of Order is an assembly of jokes, anecdotes and visual routines, the order of which is decided entirely by the audience. We are given the opportunity to shout out from a list of phrases such as “Put on a silly hat!”, “Regicide” and “Elon Musk” and depending on which phrases we pick, the shape of the hour changes. This core premise of the show underlines the appeal of Bec Hill. She is genuinely likeable in that she seems eager to respond to the audience. Constantly expressive and garnering a huge amount of laughs just from her reactions to audience responses, there are very few other comedians at the Fringe who seem like genuinely good people when they are on stage.
It is this affable nature that also lends Out Of Order its humour, as Bec’s life seems to almost entirely consist of her bumbling from one situation to another, embarrassed but never upset by the moments of public awkwardness she regularly finds herself in. While the audience see something of themselves in Bec, they more importantly see something they wish they could be. Silly, fun and a seemingly bottomless well of enjoyment, Bec Hill on stage is someone we all should aspire to be.
The material is consistently strong, with only one or two short sections of the show not landing, all of which are quickly brushed aside in favour of another suggestion. The jokes, while mostly not intricately structured, are instead simple and hilarious for more obvious reasons. There is nothing of the factory line about Bec Hill and refreshingly she never feels the need to say that. Constantly original, sweetly silly and constantly affable, Bec Hill is secretly one of the most original comic voices at the Fringe. People may leave Bec Hill’s show in tears, but at a festival where forced sentiment is regarded as more important than gleeful optimism, it is to her great credit that they will be tears of laughter.