Theatre review: I’m Doing This For You

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In the latest show from ­writer-performer Haley McGee (Oh My Irma), a dedicated girlfriend has an epic birthday surprise prepared for her boyfriend: a full Fringe audience, lubed up with vodka and cake, primed and ready to laugh at his “edgy” comedy routine.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)

Yet, as the minutes tick by and the boyfriend doesn’t show (and you know, she’s only got the room until 5:15), another, less perfect picture begins to emerge.

There are moments in I’m Doing This For You when you feel like you really shouldn’t be laughing – that you’re very clearly watching a portrayal of a breakdown, and that this should be uncomfortable. Yet McGee (rightly) never makes things so clear-cut: anyone who’s had to ­stifle a laugh at a funeral will know that human emotions are too messy to pigeonhole into boxes marked “this is funny” and “this is sad”.

McGee mines that intersection expertly, making what could be a one-joke ­concept into a fulfilling hour. There are some parts that work less well – saying ­specifically what, would spoil the show – but when you’re sitting in the dark, waiting to yell “surprise”, with only McGee’s fussy ­witterings for company, it’s one of the most human moments on the Fringe.

Until 28 August. Today 4:15pm.

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