Kristen Schaal As You've Probably Never Seen Her Before

Already an award-winning comedian in her native USA, Schaal's Fringe material is tailored to a British audience and doesn't fail to delight

archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 07 Aug 2007

Don't be fooled by Kristen Schaal's seemingly sweet and coy countenance: her humour might play on her doe-like eyes and butter-wouldn't-melt features, but she doesn't take them for granted. Each whimsical turn of phrase and flutter of eyelashes is followed by a sharp twist of the knife in her startlingly endearing narrative, involving a surreal short video piece, floral annihilation and an obscene amount of chocolate cake.

This, of course, means that the women in the audience love her – but Schaal isn't simply an alternative girl's night out. She keeps everyone riveted and even a random, hilarious Dirty Dancing reference isn't enough to put off the male members of the audience.

Already an award-winning comedian in her native USA, Schaal has clearly manipulated the content of her debut Fringe show to suit her new British audience: references to Winston Churchill and a partial re-enactment of Anne Boleyn's short stint as Queen of England don't go unappreciated. In fact, Schaal is so animated and theatrical that her set might even pass for a one-woman play in some circles.

But while her meticulously planned routine functions on almost every level, it leaves little room for improvisation: fans of a more traditional Fringe comedic set-up could find themselves at a loss when confronted by Schaal's 'realistic' portrayal of sex between a saucepan and a wooden spoon. That said, she successfully avoids the saccharine and delivers a performance that is sure to leave many festival-goers aching with delight.