Janet

If someone had told me that my favourite show of the Fringe this year would be about a 1.5kg lump of dough called Janet, I would have thought they’d completely lost it. Turns out I was wrong! If you can imagine Charlie Brooker being commissioned by Disney, this is what you'd get. Congratulations to Helen Ainsworth and John Mowat for this triumphant performance; tears of laughter are still rolling down my face as I write this.

Imagine Charlie Brooker being commissioned by Disney

The story follows Janet, the aforementioned lump of dough, in her life from conception (a jar of water making love to a bag of French flour) to her timely death as she enters the oven. For such a short life, Janet’s sure was a colourful one. From a cruel mother and a dim-witted father, to sexual encounters with a rolling pin and pair of baguettes, poor Janet struggled with her identity outside of the tin.

The way each object took on a life of its own, complete with idiosyncratic mannerisms, accents and movements made the show very unique. Keith, the big clunky water jar, pounded his vessel up and down the table, while the more sophisticated Parisian flour bag, Beryl, slid silkily across the plane, even after springing a leak.

The beautiful Janet, as she declares, had a more guttural persona as she sobbed at the thought of her impending doom and the demise of her unconventional family, from her floury platform. The bread cameos were as inventive as they were hilarious and it’s clear that Helen and John and no strangers to a bread pun or two.

Hilarity aside, it must be noted that Helen Ainsworth is an outstanding performer, puppeteer and comedian. Her breaking of the fourth wall as the audience entered was charming. Ainsworth set the start of the show up as a cooking demonstration, which we were surprised and relieved to find out it was not.

The show was as ridiculous as it sounds, and I implore anyone with an open mind and a sense of humour to go see it.

Reviews by Bethan Troakes

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Since you’re here…

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A deliciously naughty, surreal show which show follows the life of a young woman, Janet, from conception to tragic-comic end. Janet (1.5kg of uncooked bread dough) is a loveable anti-hero who refuses to go to the oven despite all attempts by her family (premium French flour and water) and the demonstration chef. Along the way she has disastrous amorous encounters with a rolling pin called Derek and a terrifying nightmare with a Bloomer. A very human story told by objects with a dark comic edge. Demonstration Chef: Helen Ainsworth Director: John Mowat

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