Rachel Parris: Keynote

Rachel Parris has been invited back to her old school to speak at prize giving, but what is she going to say? Is she even a role model at all? Rather than prepare for this speech at all, she’s written an Edinburgh show. Enter Keynote. Using live and recorded music, a powerpoint featuring a set of very precise lists and a little bit of help from the audience, Parris gives us an enjoyable hour of life advice.

An enjoyable hour with some questionable, but funny, life advice.

The use of the projector and powerpoint is brilliant. Some excellent videos of notable people being ‘inspirational’ or thinking they are anyway, give Parris something to respond to. The audience participation is great; asking for words of life advice from every person, she uses these in many ways. And in some ways this is the time she becomes most alive and funny, reacting and interacting with the crowd. The use of lists is great, every point being carefully thought through. Again it is the reaction to things and the asides that are funniest. You can tell Parris has a background in improvisation and this really helps her work the audience.

Songs and music play a large part of the show, one particularly stand out part is the song to promote feminism and self love; in the form of a Rihanna anthem. Parris is knowingly awkward and use this to her advantage. Some spectacularly awkward dancing really adds to the comedy. The sound mix was really good for such a dead space, yet Parris’ voice was not as strong as it has been in the past.

There are many laugh out loud moments, but no massive belly laughs. Parris is a watchable performer but this is not her strongest show. It's a really good concept, but one that doesn't feel as coherent as perhaps it should or could be. An enjoyable hour with some questionable, but funny, life advice. 

Reviews by Emily Jane Kerr

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The Blurb

Rachel (Austentatious, The IT Crowd, Murder in Successville) has been invited to be a guest speaker at her old school, but what kind of a role model is she really? Through stand-up, character and musical comedy, she explores what messed up message she can possibly offer to impressionable young minds. 'Endearingly frank and funny... tears of laughter' (Guardian). 'An uplifting, life-affirming hour' (List). 'Brutally funny' (Skinny).