SMIRNOFF UNDERBELLY (Venue 61)
IS JOANNA Neary the hardest working woman on the Fringe? A one-woman, one-hour show in which she plays in excess of a dozen characters, ranging from the rather precocious pussycat, Mr Timkins, to her own mother and grandmother, the effect is that of a child who has been locked in a room with nothing but her dressing-up box to play with and has developed multiple personality disorder.
Some of Ms Neary’s characterisations are right on the money. For example, the white trash would-be singer who might have to give up the bright lights of the karaoke to pursue a career in single motherhood is pitch perfect. Similarly, her Brief Encounter spoof is flawless and the monologue is imaginative enough to be more than just an impression.
Also an accomplished musician, Neary sings a rather deft deconstruction of the laboured euphemisms of jazz lyrics - "When I say I’ve got an itch, I don’t need to scratch, it’s just a metaphor for sexual intercourse".
Unfortunately, there are other characters which, however well observed, just aren’t as funny as they should be. Her bespectacled dolphin, while initially engaging, soon becomes a bit soggy, and her song about dogging has little beyond the superficial shock factor.
However, Neary’s Pan’s People pastiche of I Can’t Live if Living Is Without You is worth the price of the ticket alone as she rhythmically mimes her way through every method of suicide available.
Until 29 August.