Jo Live in : BOUQUETS & BRICKBATS
- BOUQUETS & BRICKBATS
As Fringe reviewers, we’re generally on the lookout for new acts. On the other hand, there are some old favourites that we just can’t stop returning to. Jo Caulfield is one such performer. This woman is an enigma, relentlessly old school in her approach, yet with an acidic edge that never feels old fashioned. She has the uncanny ability to nail her chosen target with a few carefully chosen put downs and move on to the next subject.
Razor Sharp is this year’s title and it sums her up very succinctly.
Out she comes and we can see she has a cob on about something and she isn’t holding back. People brave enough to sit in the front row are quickly excoriated, but here’s the thing: they love being demolished! A range of targets are unceremoniously despatched. Old grudges are aired in no uncertain terms. And, most importantly, we are all laughing uncontrollably, pretty much from the word go, at the comprehensive list of irritations she’s made notes on since we last saw her.
In a variation from her norm, she’s recently published a book, but – unlike many comics who go for the ‘how I became funny’ approach or the (inevitable) children’s series – she’s chosen to write about death, more specifically, the untimely demise of her beloved sister. Even more unusual, she’s donating all of the proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support, and she’s already raised thousands of pounds. Yes, copies are available at the shows.
If you’re thinking that it all sounds a bit grim, relax. She reads a brief extract and, while there’s a thread of melancholy woven through the writing, it’s as incisive and bitingly funny as just about everything else she turns her attention to.
So, yes, there will probably be more groundbreaking comedians at the this year’s Fringe. There will be performers who will take you on a journey, who will make you look into your souls and rethink your very existence. But if you’re craving the experience of being absolutely helpless with laughter, this is where you need to come. And to those who quibble about her sharp edges, she has her own glorious riposte.
‘Unlikeable? Me? I’m fuckin’ delightful!’