I've just spent the most uncomfortable hour of my Festival thus far. Not any fault of Joanna Neary, though, she's actually rather sweet. No, the source of my discomfort is the Pleasance Cellar (aptly named) that her show is in. You learn to accept that most Fringe performance spaces aren't exactly purpose-built, but today's experience really marred my enjoyment of the show. For those that haven't acquainted themselves yet with the Cellar, the seating toward the back is wooden stools, positioned rather too close for comfort if you don't know the person next to you. Given the lack of rake in stool heights, you also don't get a very good view if you're up the back. And today's show is full. And I'm sitting behind a tall chap. And my arse has gone numb.
So I couldn't see much, which is a pity, since Neary's comedy is rather visual. It's an eclectic mix of characters, dance, song and reading from her diary. If this all sounds a bit experiwank, don't worry. Neary is an accomplished performer, and makes even a simple gesture of her eyes funny. In particular, her characterisation of an anachronistic Celia Johnson from Brief Encounter was absurdly hilarious, and even some of most mundane words written by a 15 year old sparkled in Neary's delivery.
Neary is not much of a singer, but her songs are wickedly funny. If you do go along, look out for Don't Tell Tony, but I can't say I'd recommend going unless you take a cushion. And perhaps a periscope.