A tremendous introductory show, Rosie Jones’ debut manages to be both elegantly crafted and mischievous to its bones.
Rosie Jones: Fifteen Minutes, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ****
Her title refers to her supposed paucity of material and the length of time she went without oxygen as a newborn, causing her to develop cerebral palsy.Mining her disability for every waggish advantage she can get, Jones’ persona is like a spoilt, indulged child, teasing the audience’s sensitivities, daring them to call her “spastic”, yet always emerging triumphant. Even when victory has a decidedly pyrrhic quality of leaving her sitting in her own urine.
Assisting in pre-recorded dialogue is able-bodied Rosie, the person she might have been but for the accident. Able-bodied’s reward is to be roundly dismissed and bullied by Jones, who reiterates that she, the genuine Rosie, will always be the biggest “prick” in any situation.
Bemoaning her parents’ loving support, robbing her of material, Jones’ beaming, brattish character is joyously arrogant, the glint in her eye and the delight with which she leads you up garden paths charmingly infectious. The finest example of this is her elaborate Ryan Gosling fantasy, which beautifully suckers you in before a kicker in which she attempts to manipulate her grandparents into giving her more material. Seemingly incidental details, tossed out as throwaway jokes, are back-referenced with clinically planned skill.
Disclaiming her delivery at the top as a potential obstacle to understanding, the opposite is, in fact, true, as Jones has harnessed her speech patterns for some winningly dark ambush gags, her circumstances, and playful grin permitting her some nasty stuff about Stephen Hawking.
Already working behind the scenes in television, expect to see more of the smart, vivacious Jones in front of the cameras very soon.
• Until 26 August, 8:30pm