Elaine C Smith

With three decades of performing under her belt, Elaine C. Smith draws labels like ‘national treasure’ and ‘Scottish institution’. As she takes her place on the stage, she seems bedecked, or perhaps armoured, with those accolades – as well as an indecent number of sequins. She swaggers to the microphone and launches into her number with the confidence of a much-loved relative telling a favourite story at a family party, like a prodigal auntie returning.

Smith may not be breaking new ground politically, nor moving her medium into a radical new age, but her audience had fun.

Smith’s identity forms the substrate of her act, and her experiences of life as a Glaswegian Scot at home and abroad are spun into a seamless flow of humorous anecdotes. From the 2007 attack on Glasgow Airport to this summer’s Commonwealth Games, the watershed moments in her homeland’s recent history are treated with dry and critical humour, though endlessly nuanced with genuine warmth and affection for the country and its people.

Smith fleshes out her act with a few good-natured jabs at the natural enemies of the working-class Glaswegian – the Posh, the English, the Edinbourgeois – and a plea for serious reflection in the run-up to the referendum, which if not outstandingly insightful was markedly sincere. Her humour tapped into a pre-existing network of ideas and stereotypes that might have alienated spectators without a reasonable knowledge of Scottish culture, but from the sound of it there weren’t many of those in the audience.

She wrapped up her number with a rousing comic rendition of Wives and Lovers, an appallingly sexist tune her own mother would have chimed in to. Smith’s brisk dismissal of the song reminds us that she’s not just a funny lady: she has been fighting the good fight for years for recognition in a field that’s still not as open to women as it should be.

Smith may not be breaking new ground politically, nor moving her medium into a radical new age, but her audience had fun. Her apparent enjoyment of the evening was infectious, and the audience roared with laughter at every punch line, no matter that they saw each one coming a mile away.

Reviews by Chloe Clifford Astbury

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

What can you say about Elaine C Smith? Smith the comedienne, actress, singer, writer, raconteur, political activist and star of Rab C Nesbitt returns to the Fringe at last with her massively successful one woman show - a brilliant mix of intelligent stand-up, storytelling and music. A seriously great performance from one of Scotland’s most popular entertainers. Absolutely not one to be missed! ‘Elaine C Smith is a National Treasure’ (Herald). ‘Elaine C Smith is a Scottish Institution. But so are Barlinnie and dodgy banks’ (Ian Pattison, Creator of Rab C Nesbitt).

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets