Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

Rachel Stubbings gave me a Maoam. That’s not a euphemism. According to her, if I continue to wear my Berghaus fleece I’ll never have another blowjob again. But how else can I deal with the changeable Edinburgh weather, Rachel? My nice jackets make me too hot or too cold!

With more focus on the theme of her set, and a lot of work of its structure, this could be a very good show.

Rachel Stubbing openly mentions she’s experimented with drugs. During her set you sense that this might have been the case. She often doesn’t seem to quite know where she is. One narrative thread, about attending a wedding alone, starts to stitch things together, only to become tangled with another, undermining both of their patterns and their ability to hold things together. She seems lost, winging it till she finds a section she knows well. Then, just as she is comfortable, she gets distracted and suddenly goes back to something else. This affects the pace of her set and results in a lack of energy in the room.

There is also not enough depth to her material to fill an hour of stand-up. The premise of her set is her slightly awkward tomboyish nature and insecurities resulting from having a set of successful big brothers. This is alluded to but without her explanation of the title it would rarely be clear that this is what her show is supposed to be about. The set is structured around the events at her friend’s wedding, but what this story offers is stretched awkwardly over the hour. It could have taken up half the time and double the laughs per minute with a bit of condensation. There is so much more that Stubbings could do to fill the rest. There is skill in the selection and performance of her material. There just needs to be more of it, with a better structure to keep it together.

My guess is that Stubbings is currently a better actress than stand-up comedian. Her charming mischievousness carries her set more than her jokes; although, to be fair, her jokes can be very good. With more focus on the theme of her set, and a lot of work of its structure, this could be a very good show. However, with too much of the energy in the room resulting from the consumption of palindromic confectionary, it’s not one to desperately seek out during these final few days. 

Reviews by James Macnamara

Zoo

Government Inspector

★★★★
Stand in the Square

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

★★
The Jazz Bar

Jazz Rite of Spring

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

★★★
C venues - C nova

Cabaret Nova

★★★★
The Edinburgh Academy

West Side Story

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘Brilliantly funny ... destined for hugeness!’ (Time Out). ‘Sharp act’ **** (Metro). The runt in a litter of brainiacs and never one for school, Rachel's learned by trial and error, borrowing opinions from her big brothers, when she didn't have appropriate views of her own. Trouble is, she's knocking on a bit now and you need a chunk of fancy chat for grown-up dinners. Starting from scratch on the thinking front is tough, but that's just what she has to do to be a cool independent woman, doing it for himself.