Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace

Emma Sidi’s one-woman show Faces of Grace is absolutely bonkers. But if you happen to think absolutely bonkers is a good thing (which this reviewer does) then you will absolutely love it.

If you want to go and see at least one show that is brilliantly bonkers then I urge you to go and see Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace.

She enters the small stage, bedecked with a floral covered arbour as Dokta Cathy Burnham. There’s a reason she spells it that way. She claims to be an expert in Kinetic movement therapy and all she wants to do is bring grace to our every day lives in the form of movement. She spends the next few minutes introducing us to her five important movement techniques, where it turns out that if you mix an awful statement with graceful movements, everything sounds okay. Warning: audience participation is expected.

Dockta Cathy’s internal struggles are externalised through a frenetic display of dance, which sets the tone for the madness to come and it goes down a storm. Each flawed character she brings through the arbour to meet us has their own individual issues, demons and anxieties to overcome and these are all presented with a touchingly vulnerable performance, tinged with occasional anger, absurdity and a sharp, witty script.

With a small costume change she turns into Danielle, an American socialite with a penchant for pizza and a physical problem that stops her from finding love. Then comes Britta, who shows off her skills in strange European accents. She is desperate to attend an event at a well known radio station. Listen, it doesn’t have to make sense does it? Just go with it. Also watch out for the section on her cat. It’s brutally funny.

Leslee is a product of the reality TV generation and she has her own wants, needs and ambitions, with an accent to match. Finally we meet Maybeline whose overcoming ambition to become a Nurse, despite her lack of qualifications or detectable intelligence, is her driving force. There’s more audience participation and one lucky member gets to Sharpie tattoo her hand with a symbol to represent her commitment to the NHS.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performer work so hard over one hour. Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace is physical, funny and her characters are flawed but fabulously presented. The final montage, which sees every character return and reach a joyously satisfactory conclusion, is a moment of pure pleasure. We know these people, we love them and we are so happy for their strange lives to be better.

If you want to go and see at least one show that is brilliantly bonkers, (and why wouldn’t you), then I urge you to go and see Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace. That’s the power of dance for you.

Reviews by Christine Kempell

Underbelly, Bristo Square


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Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace

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The Blurb

Critically acclaimed character comedian and contemporary somatic movement enthusiast Emma Sidi brings her third hour of comedy gymnastics to the Edinburgh Fringe. An original and hilarious show of graceful heroes who are having a bit of a tough time. Includes dancing. As seen on TV (W1A, Pls Like, Climaxed) and as heard on radio (The Now Show, Ladhood, Spotlight Tonight). ‘A-grade stuff, invigoratingly fresh’ **** (Telegraph). 'A comic of considerable skill… a notch above many of her peers’ **** (Chortle.co.uk) 'Sidi creates a show so good I wish I could binge it’ **** (ThreeWeeks).