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Fiona Allen: On The Run at Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs

Living in London, I have never owned a car, and as I tell people who can’t get their heads around not having one, if I were to have one, by the time I’ve found a parking space, I’ll need to get a bus back home anyway, so I may as well get the bus in the first place. Fiona Allen is enjoying her Fringe experience – she hasn’t brought her car and is getting along just fine. Commendably, during a series of observations about multistorey car parks and a particularly fastidious drive-thru employee, I managed to maintain interest.

Fiona Allen: On The Run. Photography Natasha Pszenicki.
Fiona Allen: On The Run. Photography Natasha Pszenicki.

She’s called her show On The Run because that’s where she finds herself at this point in her life, getting away from family and the home. Except much of what she talks about is family and the home, perhaps because it has dominated her life so much in recent years. Of course, she isn’t the only parent out there who would love a break from the daily grind of life. I wasn’t alone at the performance I attended in struggling to stay attentive throughout – perhaps it was the post-lunch slump (I find myself eating at strange times at the Fringe, dependent on my schedule). The stuffiness of the room didn’t help either. Both factors are beyond Allen’s control.

Be that as it may, this was a comedy hour that produced smiles and titters rather than show-stopping belly laughs. Her previous work in sketch comedy lends itself well to impersonating various characters, such as other parents, her hairdresser, and a no-nonsense cleaner. With a warm and pleasant stage presence, it’s not a bad show for a comedy debut. But she’ll have to step up her game if she wants to continue pursuing standup as a career – the confidence is there but not every punchline landed as solidly as it could have.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Like most working mums, since her children were born she didn’t have a moment for herself. Now free, she has tried new hobbies, new places, even attempting to get fit.

Difficult when your spirit animal is a sloth. With nowhere left to turn she went on the road as a stand-up.

A show about family, marriage, and things that truly annoy her. It’s a show for everyone, even those passive-aggressive school mums.


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