Comedy reviews: Elf Lyons: Swan

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: This is comedy as enchantment, a show so beguiling that you don’t just love it, you somehow fall in love with it. Thank goodness for taxes, for the show is the result of Elf’s need to achieve tax deductable status for a impulsive internet purchase. She says.

Underbelly Med Quad (302)

****

But that means we get a fabulous hour as she recreates Swan Lake. Of course she speaks French because French is the language of the ballet. But somehow I do not think you will have any problem understanding what she says. Unless you are actually French.

We first get a precis and important things like the “hom balleren” (male dancer) and “le bowing” (bowing) are explained. Her deconstruction of the pas de deux is comedy heaven.

Rest assured this is far from ’Allo ’Allo because Elf makes her own linguistic mash-up taking in Wales, by the sound of her accent when she is speaking English but still being French. She has not stinted on props and costumes (although she does slightly borrow Spencer Jones’ thing of always telling us how much the props cost, maybe it is a Gaulier trick …)

Elf is ballet-trained, she tells us, albeit unwillingly, as we see as she gives us her one-woman Swan Lake. The corps de ballet and their fruit bowls, the terror that awaits a balleren who goes backwards and that glorious, hilarious pas de deux are unforgettable. As is her voice, her irresistibly endearing seriousness about the whole thing, her always funny asides and narrative detours and Elf herself, a tall, gorgeous (albeit unusual) swan on the comedy lake.

Please be aware that this show contains quite a lot of talcum powder. But I think it is worth risking an asthma attack to enjoy it.

Until 28 August. Today 9:30pm.