Jo Caulfield: Pretending to Care

It’s clearly an uncomfortable time of life for Jo Caulfield; a succession of musical heroes have died, she’s moved from middle-class Morningside to somewhat more “cosmopolitan” Leith – a process which forced her to make a host of decisions about a new kitchen – and a majority of the British population voted for Brexit. She doesn’t dwell on the last of these for too long – perhaps because the aftershock is still too raw, or she fears another complete change of Government between now and next week – but the cumulative result of all these factors is a stand-up comedian who is significantly more caustic and profane than you might expect from previous Fringe appearances.

A stand-up comedian who is significantly more caustic and profane than you might expect from previous Fringe appearances

Caulfield has clearly reached a stage of her life where she can no longer be bothered pretending to care about things she doesn’t actually care about; and it’s really, really funny. Much of the fire in this show’s belly comes from her increasing resentment of the ever-growing industry in pretending to give a cat’s arse – not least because, unlike most Americans who appear to have an innate talent for such things, us British are simply rubbish when it comes to giving a shit. Especially in M&S.

So Caulfield’s had it with the friend she helped through a messy divorce, only to see her apparently lose all her brain cells following some romantic love with a new man. She’s also frequently fed up with her husband, the near-constant butt of her routines, although it’s clear that she loves him, of course. Nevertheless, she has good reasons to ban him from watching Dragons’ Den; while he’s undoubtedly full of new business ideas, perhaps most are genuinely best kept that way – in his head, and just ideas.

The only slight disappointment is Caulfield’s final routine – highlighting the numerous distinctions between real-live versus Hollywood Rom-Com. It’s an amusing enough riff, and certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome, but it comes with a whiff of being pushed into a vacant climax slot in the show rather than organically growing from what had gone before. Which is a shame. This is an excellent show, otherwise, from a performer who’s clearly on the top of her game.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Award-winning comedian with jokes and microphone, seeks audience for good time. Featured on Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow, John Bishop Show, Have I Got News for You, Fighting Talk. 'Jo Caulfield is everything the comedy Fringe is about' ***** (Herald). 'A classy comedian who always has an excellently written and funny show' ***** (One4Review.co.uk). 'The very best hour of comedy I've seen this year' ***** (Fife Today). 'Mouthy, sweary and deadly funny in her one-liners and put-downs' ***** (EdinburghFestival.org). 'Sardonic, cutting and fantastically witty. A guaranteed great time' **** (BroadwayBaby.com). www.jocaulfield.com