Saturday 23 September 2017

Theatre: Alison Spittle Needs an Agent at Dublin Fringe

Alison Spittle
Alison Spittle
Ed Power

Ed Power

Alison Spittle is an emerging comedienne from Westmeath with a daring show up her sleeve for this year’s Fringe. Her show Alison Spittle Needs an Agent does exactly what it says on the tin.

“This show is approximately 90pc comedy and 10pc a plea for help,” she jokes at the outset. It is bold and adventurous, but the bottom line is that Spittle performs an hour of highly entertaining and original comedy.

Spittle already has been a So You Think You’re Funny semi-finalist at the Edinburgh festival Olympics of comedy. She has also chalked up a few appearances on Republic of Telly, Chose or Lose and the New Comedy awards. Her first Fringe show is hooked around not having an agent. She playfully promotes it as a prequel to her 2015 runaway Fringe festival hit I’m Ready Now.

Alison selects a woman from the audience to be her hypothetical agent, but keeps the focus of ridicule firmly on herself. She displays a graph charting what her career progress with and without an agent would be like. The ‘without an agent’ chart starkly reads “dole.” The ‘with an agent’ illustration includes “cocaine” and “too much cocaine.”

This is the loose concept behind the show, but where Spittle really excels is going off on a predictable flight of anecdotal fancy.

We learn that she was born in England, grew up in a small village outside Mullingar and her parents divorced when she was sitting her Junior Cert.

Spittle’s outsider status enables her to make sharp observations about the absurdity of daily life in the Irish Midlands. She has a lovely conversational style and comes across as a born natural for someone who hasn’t been a regular fixture on the national circuit.

If Spittle is nervous about presenting a show in this hallowed space, which is a famous incubation room for Irish comedy adorned with pictures of its famous Edinburgh winning sons, then she certainly doesn’t show it.

The finale is spectacular in a beautifully surreal way. Spittle plays the video for the all-star version of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, which was made for a BBC advert some years ago. Her impersonations of everyone from Bono to Bowie are a hoot.

Alison Spittle delivers an audacious Fringe show. If you don’t catch this week’s run, you’d be well advised to book tickets for her 2015 blockbuster immediately.

Irish Independent

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