Naomi Petersen: I am Telling You I'm Not Going

Naomi Petersen is a newcomer to the Fringe and in this whirlwind hour of musical and character comedy the laughs fail to keep pace with her sky-high enthusiasm.

The storyline of the show is generally well crafted, tying up neatly, but an unconvincing ending leaves an overly twee impression.

Petersen is agoraphobic and has been living in her performance venue in Pleasance Courtyard for the last year. The downward spiral of events that led to this breakdown form the contents of the show as Petersen dons a variety of accessories to play the characters featured in the tale. She punctuates the skits with musical numbers performed on a keyboard as we hear about her deceased hamster ‘Baby’, the exploits of her French exchange partner ‘super cool Florian’ and her long-running love affair with Pizza Express.

What starts out as gusto quickly morphs into a high-pitched irritant as Petersen over-eggs her performance style to the point where it basically becomes omelette. The small, claustrophobic performance space, so fitting for a show about an agoraphobic, rings as the frequency and volume of Petersen’s voice escalate towards bat level. This high-decibel intensity is grating in such an intimate space and only serves to hamper the humour of her material, some of which is good.

The sketch in which Jennifer Parfitt, teen queen, holds court in the school bathrooms is strong, as is Petersen’s attempt at a striptease for her university boyfriend, the level of cringe strongly reminiscent of The Inbetweeners. We see a wide assortment of voices and physicality employed in her portrayals of the characters most of which is effective, although we do hear a French accent that immediately mutates into German.

The storyline of the show is generally well crafted, tying up neatly, but an unconvincing ending leaves an overly twee impression. Petersen’s zeal is too much considering the show’s content and setting, unfortunately hindering some clever and funny moments. 

Reviews by Iona Gaskell

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Performances

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The Blurb

Naomi is agoraphobic and living in her performance venue. But it's the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, so she's got to do a show about it. Is today the day she'll finally pluck up the courage to walk out the door? Hilariously inventive, warm-hearted character comedy. As seen on E4's Drifters, and in smash-hit improv supergroup The Free Association. 'Carrying the show is the extraordinary Naomi Petersen' (Independent). 'Naomi Petersen's performance is so winning that she immediately gets the audience on side' (Guardian). 'Downright hilarious... leaves you feeling uplifted' (ViewsFromTheGods.co.uk).

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