Character Tålks

Pernilla Holland’s debut solo show is an ambitious but bumpy foray into character comedy. From a Norwegian Eurovision has-been to a church youth group leader, Holland adopts a range of personae and delivers short monologues from a range of perspectives. However, it’s not all that broad a range, and as the show goes on it becomes clear that whilst Holland has a very confident and assured presence on stage, the writing is not strong enough to hold up for the full 60 minutes.

She’s a good actor as well, just one whose characters need fleshing out more before being placed onto the stage independent of their surroundings.

There’s nothing particularly original about any of the characters of Character Talks, especially when presented against the vast array of shows available in Edinburgh. Failed pop stars, unfulfilled office workers- most of these can be found in other shows at the Fringe this year and with a little more pizazz. It seems that Holland dances around the more tired tropes of each character without really riffing on something new.

Holland’s aggressive career climber Celeste is realised with full commitment to a hyper-masculine body language, and engages with some useful audience interaction. She doesn’t really have many jokes, though. Instead, the character comes across as a dramatic monologue with the humour coming more from Celeste’s presence on the stage rather than the subject matter. The conclusion of this segment is fairly predictable, a punch line that seems familiar.

That’s the problem that resonates again and again with Holland’s characters: they’re fairly believable (except for her clueless church group leader, who feels like an outdated caricature beyond an opener involving audience interaction and a lot of biscuits) but the hit rate for jokes is consistently low. It feels like Holland is quite isolated on the stage, and is more used to working alongside others than as a solo venture. She’s a good actor as well, just one whose characters need fleshing out more before being placed onto the stage independent of their surroundings. 

Reviews by Louise Jones

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The Blurb

A character comedy from a serious Norwegian. No stone is left unturned as important issues like existentialism, sun panels and Eurovision are tålked about in this fast-paced comedy. Pernilla Holland combines silliness with sophistication in her debut show Character Tålks. ‘Hilarious’ (Time Out). 'Stand-out star' ( ‘Fantastic deadpan comedy’ (

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