Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Clara Saves America

Clara Bijl

Genre: Stand-Up

Venue: Greenside at Infirmary Street


Low Down

Clara is a French woman who lives in the US. Or does she? She has a boyfriend and an ex husband. Or does she? Her mission, which she has chosen to accept is to save America, one joke at a time.


With an hour to fill Clara’s life has become quite a confusing mixture of what she says at the beginning and then admits to by the end. It’s a hit and miss affair that does deliver some decent material which when it is singling out the experience of her international approach is funny.

I am not sure though, how Clara will manage to save America and heaven knows, it does need saving, but through the show she weaves a narrative that takes in such topics as her kid, her cat and living in New York as well as moving to San Francisco.

The beginning was a little stilted and hesitant but once a stride was found the whole experience lifted and people were there with her, enjoying the anecdotes with verve. Her delivery I assured and confident and the pace she uses works well. I enjoyed the fact that the material was pitched in a way that was avoiding the cliché ridden joke telling of a lot of comedians on the circuit.

If we did not have the usual terminally ill clichés what we did get, and I liked, was the work on the kids as well as on moving to San Francisco. The whole piece about who is her husband and who is her boyfriend I liked a little less so. Similarly too, are we French, Canadian, an American citizen by choice or birth – didn’t quite understand how this fit within the routine. When telling it straight, for me it works, and Clara Bijl is an engaging and confident presence. Naturally funny with a larger audience you could see how the relationship between comic and audience would build, but here at the Fringe with a mic, the air conditioning and a small number who have made the effort, it can feel a little exposed.

It was, however, an easy hour to listen and she was well worth making the effort for. I didn’t belly laugh but much of her material stayed with me and I contemplated a few of the routines after I left. Late night at the Fringe must be a tough gig for any comedian and for Bijl it may prove to be tough to get the bums through the door but once inside they are in safe hands.


Show Website

Clara Bijl