The National Trust Fan Club

The National Trust Fan Club is what happens if you imagine a Dave Gorman show delivered by your bouncy Auntie Joyce and her preoccupation with how to pronounce ‘scone’ (to rhyme with ‘gone’ in case you were wondering: no arguments).

To NT or not to NT: that is the question.

The premise: a breeze through Helen Wood’s personal quest to visit 100 National Trust properties in a year. The content: a few cute husband stories, occasional historical snippets, and the sort of 'poems' people send in to ladies’ periodicals. The result: a very gentle hour of comedy chat that (other than an ill-advised foray into menstruation) seemed to tickle the funny bones of what can be a much-neglected Fringe demographic.

Wood works hard to forge a rapport with her audience and is mostly successful. There is a charm and sincerity to her work that makes it hard not to root for her; and if that doesn’t grab you, she even offers a free cream tea to one lucky audience member.

Do you have to be a member of the National Trust to enjoy the show? No, but it helps. The very specific community of hardy hikers and history geeks is something of a niche one, and the in-jokes will work better if you know what they are. Do you have to be of a certain age? Not at all; but it will undoubtedly play better to those whose comedy idols lurk more around the Miranda Hart end of the comedy spectrum than the Frankie Boyle. As a proudly signed up member of a number of non-existent history and comedy fan clubs, for me, it failed to scratch enough of the historical or comic surfaces: but if a fairly broad sweep of cosy cliches and repeated scone observations is your bag then this may be the show for you.

The most winning element of the show is the nod to Wood’s lovely parents and how the places and memories of our childhood shape us. It is clear how much this mission means to her, and the childlike glee with which she recounts her delightfully obsessive ‘collection’ is almost infectious. Oh, and the venue is easily the most comfortable and deliciously air-conditioned on the Fringe. Bliss.

Reviews by Rebecca Vines

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Join Helen Wood's one-woman quest to visit every National Trust property and become the NT's biggest superfan. Packed to the brim with Goretex, cream teas and a loyal canine assistant (when NT rules allow). Don't miss this chance to see Helen's new show as it premieres at the Edinburgh Fringe, following hot on the heels of sell-out hit The OS Map Fan Club. 'Endearing, sincere, wholesome and zany. Comic genius.' ***** (Everything-Theatre.co.uk). 'Dry, droll and genuinely funny.' **** (FringeReview.co.uk). 'Enviable rapport with her audience.' **** (FringeGuru.com). Find out more at NationalTrustFanClub.com.

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