Brighton Fringe 2015
Catch her brutally honest, kick-ass, no-holds-barred, stand-up comedy show. No gimmicks, no characters, no props. No meltdown? We’ll see shall we? It’s high time she let rip… HEAR HER ROAR!
This is a high energy, fast paced solo show that combines comedic observations and an honest examination of the pitfalls and challenges that Jo Burke, faced, conquered and laughed at in her life.
It opens with her lap top making the requisite announcement to turn off cell phones to the accompaniment of rap music and finishes saying "If the person next to you does not laugh, please eject him from the show." and in she comes in a green space suit, counts to three, removes the suit and begins the show. It is a shock beginning, an attention-grabber that puts the audience in the mood to laugh at the foibles of modern life as a single woman still looking for God knows what.
Her first story is about her frustrations and challenges producing and starring in 2 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe festival last year. She continues by describing a wild gallop to the Starbuck’s loo and then begins a series of questions she has written and asks audience members to deliver. Burke says doing stand up comedy was retaliation for the many acting roles she had where she had no lines to speak. She continues by posing the question "Will anyone ever love you or will they just marry you in desperation?" and discusses her on-line dating escapades.
The mood changes when she observes that the person who had the most influence on her was her father who died at 59 from Leukemia. She says euthanasia should be legal because it is the least we can do for each other and reminds us that tomorrow a word, not a guarantee.
Burke is a talented, creative performer and her presentation is confident and engaging. She is charming and the audience cannot help but love her. She involves them every step of the way and they love standing up and singing the finale with her.
I Scream is excellent entertainment just as it is and it can only get better the more it is performed. The thing that sets this show apart from other comedic efforts is that it has a serious and very meaningful point. "All my shows have a message," she told me and indeed this show is far more than a series of jokes. It encourages us all to ponder on what life is really about.
Although the piece is a string of stories not necessarily related to one another, the underlying theme is Burke’s ability to ride with the punches and glean lessons from these unsettling, unexpected and unpleasant experiences. We are reminded in each story that defeat is not necessary. The art of survival is to pick yourself up and start over again.
IScream is billed as a stand up comedy show so it does not necessarily have to be one continuous theme. It definitely fulfills its promise: it is entertaining, funny and fun.