Virginia Ironside: Growing Old Disgracefully

It is very difficult to appreciate a show when the performer alienates you from the rest of the audience. Before the routine even began, I was singled out for being the only young person in the audience and told to leave as ‘you won’t get any of this’. To an extent, she was right. Virginia Ironside presents her one-woman show offering amusing anecdotes and information about what it is like to grow old. This would have been perfectly alright, had she not kept referring back to me as a ‘tedious young person’, therefore leaving me feeling incredibly uncomfortable and distant from the experience.

For what it is, though, the show is fairly strong. Ironside is bold but gentle, with a quintessentially English manner. It is refreshing to watch what is in essence stand-up that is not presented by a Russell Howard copycat; this is a breath of fresh air among typical Fringe comedy shows. Her stories are interesting as well as amusing, although many points of reference shot over my head. Coupled with this is a sharp, almost acid wit, made all the more potent by her understated delivery and demure manner, which create a powerful contrast.

There is little more to say, however, as I was not allowed to invest in the overall experience. The material itself is, as she says, fairly inaccessible to younger demographics, but combined with deliberate alienation the show is made almost impenetrable. The real star of the show is her dressing gown: more fabulous than John Barrowman himself, even the memory places me in a good mood.


The Blurb

When an agony aunt reaches 60 she can jump off a bridge or get on stage. Virginia explains why free drugs, fun funerals, sex (or better still no sex!) make this the best time of your life.