We are welcomed into the Stand 2 by a red-headed young woman in the guise of an older man. She's made no real effort in her costume other than a jacket and a flat cap and a talent for casual ambling. It's clear that Eleanor Morton is serious about her
It seems impossible to review Eleanor Morton without descending into the same confused rambling that she perfectly plays.
Once the show begins proper, we learn that we're in the company of the tour guide for the Beamish Mining Museum Museum (not a typo) and we're going to spend some time learning about the history of mining museums and a little too much about the guide himself. It's a lovely character piece that, like so many of Morton's jokes, fades out without any real punch line but that in many ways is the delightful thing about her comedy. Punchlines are for hipsters and cool comedians with stylish clothes and haircuts – Morton doesn't want or need to be one of those.
Morton spends the rest of her set telling us tales that cover the Patriarchy, living in London, immigration and her dislike for parties – all subjects you can expect to hear from any of the many comedians performing in Edinburgh, but she delivers her material with such an awkward uncomfortableness that makes you want to applaud her and give her a good shake at the same time. It's weird, because I'm very aware that this all sounds like negative criticism but it's actually praise: it seems impossible to review Eleanor Morton without descending into the same confused rambling that she perfectly plays. A random aside includes her revealing her skills as a pet psychic and delivering messages from the great (pet) beyond. It's perfectly bizarre and the audience plays along happily, if a little confused.
My only real criticism is that there's none of the musical numbers at which Morton excels. She has a real talent for musical comedy and her decision to forego the ukulele and the keyboard this year leaves me feeling that something is missing – but this is only the opinion of an established fan. Those who have never seen her before won't care. It's a perfectly formed, awkward hour of social ineptitude, with some great dancing.