Unfortunately, it still seems remarkable enough for a comedy show's bill to be entirely populated by women that the Funny Women Pop-Up Fringe marketed their lineup as such. The emphasis, however, is not on the suggestion that women in comedy have something to prove, rather that after eleven years of Funny Women awards, there are more than enough female comedians out there who can absolutely bring the house down, so why not collect them all in one place?
The Comedy Showcase is a lovely insight into the Funny Women line-up for this year, providing as it does a real range of comedy. As such this isn't simply an hour of stand-up, tonight, character comedians Twisted Loaf presented us with a pair of bizarre Rahs, and the homely Mrs Barbara Nice brought us all together with such all-inclusive warmth that I was surprised she didn't offer us all a slice of lemon drizzle and a cuppa. Though these two acts were overshadowed by their stand-up comrades, they had us guffawing away, if maybe slightly baffled at the same time.
Compère Lucy Frederick gave us glimpses of her own show In Pursuit of Cool, which though peppered with highly recognisable quips was delivered with slightly too little confidence, hesitations breaking the flow into tiny rivulets of laughter. Despite this, her physical style of comedy was wonderfully honest and shameless - far from ladylike but still avoiding the crass.
We were introduced to the many joys and pitfalls of being one of the few mixed-race kids in a school in the Midlands by Nottingham-born Emily Lloyd-Saini; her anecdotal comedy is as hilarious as it is unbelievable. Part of improvised comedy troupe Battleacts, it's easy to see how bright Lloyd-Saini will shine when given a team and a full hour to play with. In a mere ten minutes, her energy and charm absolutely won us over.
Later, Katerina Vrana gave us an outsider's view of British culture which saw tried-and-tested British stereotypes set up against her native Greek passion. With this range and quality of performance, the calibre of Funny Women will hopefully secure its position at the Fringe. As with any variety performance, this quality will waver slightly, but such is the nature of Fringe comedy, regardless of gender.