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Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Carnival Knowledge: Love, Lust and Other Human oddities

Naomi Grossman

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Venue: C Soco


Low Down

A high energy whirlwind of a one woman show, written and performed by Naomi Grossman, on the trials and tribulations of her search for the perfect relationship with a man. Encountering many strange and bizarre ’prospects’ on her way she finally finds what she is looking for, in the place she least expects.




When Grossman entered the stage juggling dildos (or ‘weenies’ as she called them) my heart sank. I would have to sit through another gratuitous show and waste another hour or so of my time would I? Thankfully my first habitual critical thought was wrong and as the show unfolded I grew steadily amazed by her ever quick changing expressive range, impeccable timing, word perfect delivery and yoga inspired physical agility.

The set consisted of three wooden cubes which she used in a variety of ways – as massage table, bed, automobile – a couple of carnival scenes painted on cloth for a backdrop and a few choice props. Dressed in a cheeky carnival style costume, replete with top hat and tight colourful leggings she introduces each of the nine sections with an oversized carnival ticket, announcing the story of each desperate attempt at finding ‘the one’. Thus we are introduced to a variety of would be suitors and sometimes drawn out attempts at relationships. Enter a man dressed from head to toe as a chicken, an ever so touchy feely yoga teacher, and even a good few of the members of an Argentine football team.

Although most of the best laughs are based around the theme of sexuality there is a more serious side to Grossman’s monologue. At one moment she unpicks the fantasy of ‘the one’, a soul mate who will answer all her heart’s desires, and says “why not ‘the two‘?” At another she asks herself “What am I doing? This is just some average Joe in a Polo at some traffic lights.”

Although fast paced Grossman has a knack for subtlety, in fact she seems to have more subtlety in her performance style than in her material and this is a little disconcerting. I also found that the sometimes light ‘sex in the city’ style of some of her material jarred a little with the carnival theme. But perhaps this was her intention. Carnival is thought by some scholars to originate in ancient Greek Dionysian festivals and the show certainly does have it’s risqué moments. I could not but help feeling a little sorry for her character though, even with the laughs.

All in all and impressive performance – and a very amusing night out to boot. Check out her hilarious Youtube clips by way of a taster!