Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Catriona Knox has a fresh hour of character comedy. It’s a sparkling show with many a laugh out loud moment, delivering characters that are occasionally grotesques, but always very engaging and likeable. She is bounding across the stage as we arrive, greeting as many people as she can as we find our seats. We’re in safe hands for the next sixty minutes…
One third of the always fabulous Boom Jennies, Knox has always been a winning personality. Indeed, try as I might to talk about anything else, this appears to be the main bulk of what this review will discuss. Yes, she’s very funny and smart. She’s a great actor, with each character being enormously different (a surprisingly difficult trick to pull off in this genre). However, her onstage persona is so cheerful and generous, audience members are likely to come out of the room feeling like they’ve just met their new best friend.
Over the course of the hour, we are introduced to a series of different characters (it would spoil the jokes to reveal who they are, but a firm audience favourite is the one who opens the show, one who you feel that carry a full hour by herself). A running gag is the involvement of an audience member to interact with Knox in a variety of surprising ways. It’s difficult to over-state just how fun this is for everybody, the entire room feeling like a bunch of mates being allowed to stay up late, playing silly games.
There is, of course, always the risk that the selected audience member will get over-excited and try to pull focus (look, I haven’t been on stage for ages, and it’s been a long time since I got to do any improv in public, don’t judge me), but Knox is a clever and sharp performer who always has her audience in hand. On occasion, literally.
For anyone reading this who gets concerned about being ‘picked on’ as an audience member, there’s absolutely no need to be worried: not only is it obvious that Knox has no interest in being anything other than kind, it’s clear in retrospect that Knox’s effervescent greetings at the start of the show have had the additional purpose of scoping out the audience; testing to see if her ‘marks’ are going to be in any way reluctant. It’s hard to see why anyone would be. The title of the show is Catriona Knox Thinks She’s Hard Enough, but it’s a lot warmer than that, with the head girl an enormously likeable presence delivering a masterclass in rich character comedy. It’s a privilege to attend the School Of Hard Knox.