Rachel Parris’ previous show was one of the loveliest hours you could spend at 2016’s Fringe. Keynote continues the trend with Parris conducting a thoroughly good-natured performance about, what else, being invited to give a speech to students at her old school.
Her voice and piano playing remain brilliant, and accompanying them this time round is a compact cast of characters that show off her abilities as an impressionist and actress as well. I suppose it’s obvious that someone with the vocal dexterity to sing this well can also put on a great accent, but it’s startling quite how talented Parris is, no matter what she might have to say about that. All the characters are hilarious, each in their own way a comment on trite inspirational speeches.
Parris is endearingly nerdy, but despite the overflow of niceness and good-will, she’s not afraid of a wicked joke or song. While the show does seem silly on the surface, it touches on a lot of important topics, especially relevant to the high school children she’s been invited to talk to. She’s affably frank about the sort of advice that’s actually useful to kids, and honestly, it’s hard to imagine anyone better to give such a speech after spending an hour watching her take the piss out of platitudinal speeches.
Very little to not recommend here; Parris is ludicrously nice, extremely funny, and just the sort of person you’d want advising your kids.