Thirty seconds in and an audience member is on the stage already: Lolly Adefope doesn’t mess around. Diving straight in, this is a comedic character actor who doesn’t stop for breath once in this incredibly slick show. Adefope sweeps between characters seamlessly, creating one-sided dialogues which are fast with the punch lines and all competing for loudest persona on the stage. We meet call centre employees, seminar leaders, chat-show hosts akimbo: a plethora of characters which showcase Adefope’s impressive range of accents and stances as well as writing capability. The laughs come from the minutiae of her personae without relying on catchphrases, despite some fair few callbacks to characters throughout the show.
Adefope may just be one of the best character comedians around at the Fringe
Each of Adefope’s characters comes out simultaneously exaggerated to ridiculous proportions and yet completely identifiable, maintaining a realism in her sketches. It’s this rooting in the real world that really helps Adefope’s commentary hammer home: too often sketch shows and character comedy feels a bit too zany and airy to make a real point, here Adefope invokes real world consequences to her character’s actions.
We see Adefope play herself as well as donning so many different characters. Building on a casting decision which last year proved unnecessary divisive, Adefope develops an audition reel to take into account people’s outraged reactions to a casting choice for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s a hilariously ridiculous sketch, one which has a punchline the audience could anticipate but doesn’t dampen the humour itself. Of course Adefope is a great spokesperson to tackle this issue: she’s instantly likeable, keen to impress the disembodied casting agents, but within this sketch we see that she, as both character and performer, is pissed off. Here’s a talented comedian who’s frustrated at the way media has defined her act based on her background, bringing the house down with her reaction to reviews of her 2015 show. Adefope may just be one of the best character comedians around at the Fringe and coupled with her biting reaction to her critics it’s a must-see.