Aug 21-23 (13:45)
Not only does Abbie Murphy’s solo show have the best title on the Fringe, but it is rapidly gaining the best rep. I mean, the City Cafe’s Las Vegas Room might not be the biggest venue at the Fringe, but the effect of seeing the audience queue snaking into every crevice of the City Cafe basement based on word of mouth is exciting. So in we went, & folk were forced to sit on the floor & lap around the walls, leaving about six square feet of space for Abbie & her massive Aztec showgirl head-dress to strut her stuff. It was so intimate, it felt like we were Slavic peasants sat down around a single oil-lantern for light & warmth & that Abbie was that very candle.
So, the show itself. Abbie is a cheeky Essex girl, whose 32 years sit her sweetly on the cusp between youth & middle-age, which is reflected in the universality of her comedy. We were all laughing, but quite strangely at different times, picked off by her punchline sniper rifle. As Abbie frollicked almost machine-like through her down-to-earth & snappy delivery, it felt like we were one of her girlfriends who she’d met down Ilford to do some shopping one afternoon; & we’d decided to hit a bar for a beer, a giggle & a catch-up.
The central section of her show deals with her time as a showgirl on a cruise liner, a gentle & natural anecdotal ride which surpasses most story-themed comedy shows that come to the Fringe. As for the rest, it was varied in subject, but always funny, even the Jesus material near the end, the seventh time I’d witnessed a comedian touch such material so far in 2018… but Murphy’s was definitely the best.
The only problem for me as a spectator was the venue. In this instance Abbie is a five-star comedian in a two-star venue – cramped & stuffy – & for this reason a lot of the laughter was held back by the audience. Watching Abbie in a large auditorium with decent air conditioning would have been a much superior experience, so lets hope it does happen because Abbie definitely has the talent to pull off a much larger gig.