It’s become one of those familiar clichés how the Fringe hosts gigs in some unusual settings, whilst some of these settings evoke a sense of charm, they are usually just plain shit and a haven for cholera, so Love In The Time of Collier by Jenny Collier seems aptly titled for a cramped double decker bus in the Free Sisters.
There’s little danger for audience interaction and maybe even the chance for people to walk out as the top deck is rammed, so much so Jenny Collier is left with such little stage space Josef Fritzl would have thought was a bit mean. But Jenny seems happy enough, unfazed and fires into her set. Jenny’s material over the next forty minutes spans over her various vocations, dealing with idiots and the upper class, jobs, being mixed race of Welsh and English and her seeming loneliness. It’s all a bit familiar but it’s mainly self-depreciating that removes any nervous threat of the audience that they might be called upon, as indeed she cites from one critic her ‘lacking’ of audience interaction and somewhat lampoons the criticism with poignancy but wittily in equal dosage. The material is well scripted, with moments of canny call back, nice playful abuse of the English language and moments of dark depravity that gives her a bit of surprising edge.
Whilst being well paced, there’s a lack of real laugh out moments from the crowd, who to their credit have been more willing to sit on the floor, stand and surrender themselves to cramp-ness that merited everyone to own an orange jumpsuit. I couldn’t help but sense being in a different and more appropriate stand up environment she might have got better audience reaction. I particularly enjoyed the depravity, but felt if she could go deeper and darker then there would be some loud cackling on the bus, drowning out the invading noises from outside. Whilst seeing comedy on a bus makes for a ‘unique’ experience, it somewhat thwarts the show by leaving Jenny to just being static and thus killing any physicality to compliment the performance. Nevertheless in an overabundance of comedy performers vying for attention, Jenny seems to have her own identity and makes Love In The Time of Collier one of the best bus journeys you could wish to be on.