Attacking her material with a mixture of nervous energy and enthusiasm Juliette Burton launches into her act by describing her difficulties in making decisions, then tracing the big choices which have brought her to an Edinburgh stage in front of a packed room. It’s an engaging start to what turns out to be a thought-provoking and largely entertaining show.
It may not rank among the funniest acts but the idea behind it is important, and the comedian’s approach to the subject is impressively authentic.
Going back to her earliest years, and the decision she made to eschew the family farming business and set her sights on a life as a writer and performer, Burton takes the audience on a deeply personal journey. There are musings on ex-boyfriends, career moves, and even clothes choices but some of the most affecting sections of the show relate to decisions not really taken by Burton, those relating to her mental health over the years.
It’s not a riotous show and the laughs are pretty light and sporadic, provoked by a mixed bag of bantering one-liners and the occasional toe-dip into the cheekily naughty side of lightweight innuendo. However Burton is a likeable performer and in this intimate venue it’s clear she’s more than capable of winning the audience over with her willingness to open up and talk about issues which more than often are relegated to stigma and silence.
This is the power of Burton’s show. It may not rank among the funniest acts but the idea behind it is important, and the comedian’s approach to the subject is impressively authentic. Such honesty about difficult subjects is rare and refreshing. It makes for an often moving story of how a life can develop in the face of difficult mental health issues.
It all leads up to the current day, and what could be Burton’s biggest decision to date. Although she wants Fringe audiences to help her with this choice, it’s clear the support isn’t entirely necessary. Burton might not like making decisions but she’s proven in the past she is more than capable of making the right ones at big moments. Bringing this show to the stage, for example, was a brave and eminently worthwhile choice.