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Michelle Brasier: Reform at Edinburgh Fringe

This is, to my mind, the archetypal Edinburgh Fringe comedy hour – a narrative delivered at pace, so quickly that Michelle Brasier occasionally stumbles over her own script, but recovers equally quickly, with live music and still and moving projections. And there’s a lot to talk about in this surprisingly compelling story about an online transaction gone very, very wrong.

Michelle Brasier Reform. Credit Nick Robertson.
Michelle Brasier Reform. Credit Nick Robertson.

Brasier blames at least some of what transpired on the female species still being overly kind, even when a tougher approach is appropriate. She’s probably right – no, she is right: I don’t think, to take a completely different set of examples from the ones in Brasier’s narrative, I’ve ever read “no worries if not” from a male publicist or producer inviting me to review their Fringe show.

It is no spoiler, merely a statement of fact, that if someone has paid for something, they are entitled to that something or otherwise should be refunded in full. Brasier’s saga with the non-delivery of her online order could have been resolved faster than it was. But that wouldn’t make for a story as intriguing as hers, and it wouldn’t have resulted in enough material for a comedy gig. It’s certainly an unpredictable story (apart from the very end result, which is that she is able to recount the entire chain of events to Fringe audiences), and she’s able to drive the plot forward with songs as well as spoken word.

Absolutely riveting from start to finish, even when there was the almost inevitable talk about what went on during the pandemic lockdowns, Brasier’s palpable energy and warm stage presence is phenomenal. And I even learnt about Scott Pope, Australia’s so-called ‘barefoot investor’, as well as the behavioural characteristics of chimpanzees and bonobos. Educational as well as entertaining.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Reform is a cautionary tale laced with friendship, radical empathy, redemption, kindness and understanding of those who have done us wrong. This theatrical hour of storytelling and original music has audiences cringing at every naïve exchange between victim and conman and shouting ‘No! Stop!’ before being swept along for the ride and completely understanding how this unique relationship developed. In Michelle’s words, it’s about “seeing the best in people even though they’re probably, mostly shit.”

2nd – 27th August 2023

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