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.