Comedy review: Louise Reay: Hard Mode

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Lots of people believe audience participation is a form of torture. Louise Reay has taken this to its logical conclusion with an absurdist show about totalitarianism which intentionally makes its audience feel uncomfortable.

We are hustled to our feet, given identity papers and surrounded by masked guards who are watching our behaviour.

In the past Reay, who is fluent in Chinese, has been sponsored by the Chinese government to create absurdist mime shows in Chinese.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is safe to say Reay and the Chinese government are getting a divorce – particularly as she has worked on this show with dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

She is also getting a divorce in real life – and her heartbreak seeps into this show in painful fashion, bringing Reay to the brink of tears.

It’s a bold experimental comedy which only partly works. Reay has always performed in Chinese and doesn’t have a confident enough style or delivery when she speaks in English.

Also, her portrayal of the BBC as the voice of freedom of speech will not sit well with many Scottish audience members.

She should also have considered the changing political climate. In the light of the election result, her portrayal of Theresa May as the supreme leader is the most absurd thing of all.

Until 27 August. Tomorrow 5:55pm.