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.