Unmissable comedy acts of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016
Jo Caulfield: Pretending to Care
Known for appearances on some of Britain’s best comedy shows such as Mock the Week and Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow, Jo Caulfield is at the height of her powers interacting with audiences and reflecting on her own life.
The Scotsman : 4th August 2016
"Jo Caulfield remains a fearless tour de force" - Business Week
An alumnus of Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and the John Bishop Show, Jo Caulfield has cut her teeth with the current pack of comedy performers on the eclectic comedy scene.
As the Edinburgh Fringe heads towards its final furlong, Jo’s early evening show at the Stand is packing the house, but it might still be possible to procure a last minute ticket, as I did.
In a varied comedy career that saw her work with Graeme Norton, and host her own show on Radio 4 Jo is fearless with a feminist tour de force take on life, love and shopping and shagging!
She is not ashamed to admit that she hails from Melton Mowbray the place where pies are the primary export and that the town also boasts that it is the home of Pedigree Chum. So it is an obvious laughter link to say: “I’m slightly suspicious of the jelly around the pork pie.”
Currently a resident of the cool “Republic of Leith” Jo shamelessly scats on the concerns of sassy Lothian ladies of a certain age, ahem. Her comedy resonates with the avid audience, many of whom are local. It was great to swap notes on life and Leith living when we chatted after the show.
In the tradition of stand-up she interacts with the audience and especially the front row who get the “How long have you been married?” treatment. It transpires a long time for most of them – hence the front row rocking their “I can see in the dark and don’t need specs” attitude. I don’t believe this was a plant, as it seemed accidental when she asked an older gent “What is your name?” to which he responded Brian. She comes back with “You look more like a Findlay, proper old posh money in Perth.” The audience erupts to his respons: “My last name is Findlay.”
There is also a whole routine about the matronly ladies of Morningside who meet for eats and try to pay their bills with mothballed World War two ration vouchers. Again it’s a local gag but appreciated by an avid audience who totally get the aged aunties and ancient matriarchs gag.
When Jo ends up by accident in a “gentlemans’ club with a “platonic friend” and feels the need to show her seedy side by pole dancing, the trouble is she can’t stop talking as she describes her every move. This was laugh out loud as she gyrated and narrated.
In a short but sharp set she puts a new slant on the mother-in-law joke, formerly fodder for old-style male sexist stand ups. In the best comedic tradition she keeps the best gag until the end and leaves the audience gagging for more.
This is her piece de resistance – the mother-in-law who can’t let the apron strings go and constantly critiques the daughter-in-law about how her son likes his toast and how he likes his tea. How mother-in-law can do it all better. Daughter-in-law comes back in graphic detail with how her son likes his oats! Exit stage to tumultuous applause.
Loved it. More please.
Business Week : 22nd August 2016
"Jo's timing and delivery are slick and devastatingly effective" - EdinburghFestival.org
I’m not sure Jo cares about show reviews. And I’m not sure this reviewer cares that she cares.
But I have to report that her show is tight, funny, focused, and may occasionally make you snort, titter, wet yourself or cause you to cast your spit on the person in front of you. That is, if you’re anything like the person sat behind me. I can’t be 100% sure about them wetting themselves, but the rest was very real.
In short, and this review is short, Caulfield is a bloody hoot. She’s swearier, sharper, more caustic and better at her ad-libs than ever before, and her timing and delivery are slick and devastatingly effective.
She’ll make you laugh. Often at yourself. Her ‘Hollywood versus East Finchley’ RomCom is a highlight, her withering put-downs of her husband’s great ideas, which include suggestions for ransoming cats are brilliant, and her presence and brilliant characterisation all make this a very, very enjoyable hour.
At the end, she engages with her audience as they exit and pretends to care by rattling a bucket for charity. You can tell she actually does care, but like all of us, doesn’t care about stuff that really doesn’t matter. Unlike most of us, she can be honest about this, and make that superbly funny.
EdinburghFestival.org : 18th August 2016
"A commanding performance of class and style" - One4Review
Jo Caulfield can always be relied on to write and perform an hour of well though gags and stories, delivered in the trade mark style she has perfected over the year.
Ms Caulfield seems to have quite a lot that doesn’t totally please her during the past year, be it her ‘gaming’ brother, the house move with ensuing bank issues, a visit to a Lap dancing club, an night out with friends at an Edinburgh club or her much maligned husband, she has scope to grumble and makes full advantage of the opportunity.
There is no doubt that Jo can find laughs in whatever she talks about and the slightly ascorbic and dead pan delivery with the occasional foray using unbroadcastable language add to the commanding performance of class and style.
Her sold-out show audience is maybe a little more mature than some, perhaps it is the exposure she has from being on the telly and on Radio 4 but her appeal seems to be across the board.
This is a thoroughly professional performance and tickets are sure to be difficult to come by. Get there quick so you don’t miss out.
One4Review : 13th August 2016
"An excellent show, from a performer who’s clearly on the top of her game" - BroadwayBaby
It’s clearly an uncomfortable time of life for Jo Caulfield; a succession of musical heroes have died, she’s moved from middle-class Morningside to somewhat more “cosmopolitan” Leith – a process which forced her to make a host of decisions about a new kitchen – and a majority of the British population voted for Brexit. She doesn’t dwell on the last of these for too long – perhaps because the aftershock is still too raw, or she fears another complete change of Government between now and next week – but the cumulative result of all these factors is a stand-up comedian who is significantly more caustic and profane than you might expect from previous Fringe appearances.
Caulfield has clearly reached a stage of her life where she can no longer be bothered pretending to care about things she doesn’t actually care about; and it’s really, really funny. Much of the fire in this show’s belly comes from her increasing resentment of the ever-growing industry in pretending to give a cat’s arse – not least because, unlike most Americans who appear to have an innate talent for such things, us British are simply rubbish when it comes to giving a shit. Especially in M&S.
So Caulfield’s had it with the friend she helped through a messy divorce, only to see her apparently lose all her brain cells following some romantic love with a new man. She’s also frequently fed up with her husband, the near-constant butt of her routines, although it’s clear that she loves him, of course. Nevertheless, she has good reasons to ban him from watching Dragons’ Den; while he’s undoubtedly full of new business ideas, perhaps most are genuinely best kept that way – in his head, and just ideas.
Caulfield’s final routine highlights the numerous distinctions between real-live versus Hollywood Rom-Com. It certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome. This is an excellent show, from a performer who’s clearly on the top of her game.
BroadwayBaby : 12th August 2016
"Pretending To Care is a sharp, cohesive experience" - Fest Mag
Maybe it’s some curious side-effect of shelling out for an expensive new kitchen, but Jo Caulfield seems considerably more caustic this year. It could also be her recent move from middle-class Marchmont to the more, er, cosmopolitan, Leith. Plus a Brexit aftershock. The mildly furious comic gets that out of the way in a dismissive rant early on here, not wanting to “waste good jokes” on Cameron, Corbyn and co.
Either way, it’s a welcome surge along the profanity superhighway, and her faithful Radio 4-infused fanbase seem more than content with the added effing and jeffing. Although even the hardcore look slightly stunned when Caulfield suddenly launches into a bit of softcore: an elaborate and surprisingly professional lap-dancing routine. Well, it’s good to have something to fall back on.
The Midlands-raised, now Edinburgh-based comic is in fine form here, largely fuelled by a growing annoyance at fake niceness: that faux-friendliness that big corporations now force their employees to greet customers with. This is hardly hard-hitting social commentary but, offered some juicy subject matter, she rips it to shreds; the audience positively howls with laughter. Her poor husband gets it in the neck too, as ever, but all very affectionately.
Fest Mag - 6th August 2016
"A naturally funny comic" - EdFestMag
Going in, it was clear from the long, winding queue that Jo Caulfield has a strong following. Her show appears to be very popular among middle-aged married couples, as does the material.
This is not a negative, although this meant an over-excited man kept approving every punchline by quietly voicing his own input, like only a dad would. The show is simply quality comedy for nice people.
It’s cynical, but harmless. She has attitude and knows how to exploit it for our amusement.
It is an enjoyable, well-written hour of comedy. Caulfield’s experience as an entertainer is evident in her delivery and comfortable stage presence, and her riffs with audience members are arguably where she shines through most.
A naturally funny comic.
EdFestMag : 10th August 2016
Being dubbed the funniest woman in Britain should be hard to live up to, but Jo Caulfield carried it off in style as The Cornwall hosted it's second events evening.
Jo immediately took advantage of the intimacy of the Acorns salon to build a fast rapport with the audience, sussing out those who liked to drink, highlighting the lady with the best breasts and even discovering how many women in the room had been flashed. Using her warmth and fast wit and by sharing her own domestic secrets, Jo elicited intimate personal details from the audience that quickly became comedy fodder.
Jo's observational comedy comes thick and fast in a constant stream of acerbic stories about life, the universe and everything - stories we can all relate to as she wrestles with the self-scanner in Tesco. Jo discusses irritating friends, negotiating with terrorists, celebrity perfumes, bespoke kitchens and a visit to HMV that culminates in having dinner with people she doesn't know. This amazingly funny lady sucks up the minutiae of everyday life spitting it back out with a bitchiness that her comedy idol, Joan Rivers, would be proud of. With a wicked smile and a sparkle in her eye, Jo's harsh comedy rantings lose their cruelty as she exposes her own foibles and failings alongside ours.
Laugh out loud funny from start to finish, Jo Caulfield scored a hit at The Cornwall; we can only hope that she returns with more wit and wisdom in the near future.
The headliner was Jo Caulfield. A TV regular and with many a successful touring show, it was great to see her in this intimate venue.
What you expect from a someone of Caulfield's experience and skill is a slick set, full of cracking observations all performed with verve, energy and great timing and that is exactly what you get.
The key to Caulfield's success is recognition. Not everyone might have had a bad experience on a train or battled wits with shop staff, but everyone has been in a relationship and her insights into the differences between the first flush of love and the familiarity and dullness of long-term relationships had the crowd wincing as they laughed.
The Scotsman (2016)
Fantastic show by Jo Caulfield at packed Stand tonight - the very best hour of comedy I've seen at #edfringe this year.
FifeFreePressEd (August 2015)
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