Jo Live in : THE RECS (August 2022)

  • THE RECS (August 2022) 

    The last two and a half years have been “unusual” to say the least. Definitely so for comedians, facing both Covid-related lost income and home confinement replacing nationwide touring. Yet as normality returns in the form of this year’s Fringe, comics such as Jo Caulfield are mining a rich vein of pandemic-derived material.

    In Here Comes Trouble, Caulfield – recognisable, rather than over-exposed, from appearances on Have I Got News for You, and Live at the Apollo – takes the audience on a coronavirus-infused journey. “There is no narrative arc” she teases. Instead, focus rapidly shifts through a polemic of revelations and annoyances stemming from March 2020 onwards. And there is a lot ripping Caulfield’s knitting (crafters, be forewarned)!

    A laugh-out-loud segment on the twin hazards of drinking and shopping at home during lockdown, and the apparent aftermath as restrictions eased, is as reflective as it is funny. The perils of having to endure “popular” TV whilst Caulfield was looking after her elderly mother are also brought into comedic focus. This culminates in a hilarious, somewhat surreal, sequence imagining a more realistic Great British Train Journeys episode involving presenter Michael Portillo on the final Friday night train from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

    Personal relationships are also valid targets, frequently involving Caulfield’s (long suffering) husband, Stewart.  An encounter, on a post-covid European holiday, with a free porn channel in a hotel bedroom fills her Aberdonian spouse with delight, but not for obvious reasons.  Aberdonians, akin to Yorkshire folk, are famed for their thriftiness and the gag initiates an uproarious monologue.

    The reaction of the sell-out audience served to reiterate that Caulfield remains one of the UK’s foremost stand-ups.  Her humour is highly engaging, whilst not shying away from controversy on occasion. Her significant comedic skill is reinforced in the show’s finale which brilliantly ties together the preceding, seemingly disparate, strands in a single narrative.  Here Comes Trouble is akin to spending a joyous evening with a pandemic-neglected friend.  Albeit one who constantly critiques nearly everything about you. To your face.