Rachel Parris: Best Laid Plans

Seeing Rachel Parris is a bit like seeing your favourite teacher outside of school, which is appropriate as she tutors piano. If her lessons are as good as her comedy you definitely ought to enquire.

Her show is a milkshake of whimsical, self-referential reflection, with tasty bits of short, cyclical – hilarious – piano ballads. There’s a disarming vein of honesty running through it all, tied together as the show is by regular readings of an email exchange chain between Rachel and a Samaritan. Her often self-deprecating hindsight is as astute as it is funny, chronicling the aftermath of a breakup warmly, and hilariously.

The regular musical intervals are wonderful. They’re sometimes cynical, often rude, and always funny. From a number about the frustrations of travelling Hen Do’s, to a pseudo hip-hop banger about the awkward technicalities of sex, Rachel finds tuneful laughs in unexpected places. Even when the mood is darkened by a sobering litany of reasons a great relationship can fail, she knows just how to bring the room back up. Any complaints extend only to a few verbal missteps here and there, that if anything belied infectious over-excitement it’s hard to fault.

It’s fitting that Rachel Parris puts you in mind of a cartoonishly nice primary school teacher, because her show does feel like a lesson about adult life, delivered to children in the silliest way possible. Brilliantly performed music and a big, expressive voice, combine with great comedic timing and an irrepressible sunniness make for one of the nicest hours you could spend at the Fringe.

★★★★ (and a half)

Keiran Burnett


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