Fiona Allen: On The Run at Edinburgh Fringe ★★

Fiona Allen: On The Run at Edinburgh Fringe ★★

★★ Fiona Allen: On The Run | Pleasance Courtyard | Aug 10-20 | 4:15pm

A lukewarm, safe stand up debut from one of the UK’s finest comedy actresses.

Fiona Allen: On The Run at Edinburgh Fringe ★★ 1

Fiona Allen is BAFTA award winning comedy actress, and her turns in 90s all-female sketch show Smack the Pony are legendary. This show is her first foray into stand-up, and she plays it safe with an opener on parking, which sets the tone for a set that will mainly appeal to the broadsheet-reading, Radio 4-listening crowd. She has a massive press machine working to generate an audience for this show, but sadly the punchlines don’t quite match the hype.

Thematically, the show is about Allen escaping her responsibilities as a mum – but that theme doesn’t really go anywhere. Allen at her best finds the funny in her hilarious mimicry of her mother and other accents. The show could really fly with more of this material, and perhaps a theatre director would add a little structure to what otherwise feels like a wry stream of consciousness.

From long drives on car holidays in Cornwall, to her meanie cleaner, it all feels a bit like an episode of Jenny Eclair’s Grumpy Old Women. There are flashes of what makes Fiona Allen an anarchic punk clown, like when she mentions working in Manchester’s Hacienda and lets go a little. It would be great to hear more about her TV life (given that’s the reason why the Pleasance Upstairs is full). Her voice as a 50 year old woman in comedy is invaluable, and deserves some more pointed material delivered with a little more confidence.