Edinburgh Fringe 2018
The Naked Video and Absolutely Fabulous star feels it’s time to spill, before she forgets and gets taken off the patches altogether. What went on in the Big Brother house? Can she be honest about stand-up comedy, being fat, wheezy and other secrets? Probably not. She might lie.
Helen Lederer arrives onstage and takes a good look at the audience and she’s off! She talks to the audience with fast quips and anecdotes about the myriad of topics available from her experience doing stand-up or as an actor. Most of us are familiar with her work as an actor in AbFab, but she has graced the sets of many TV series familiar to us. Therefore, there is already complicity between her persona and the audience, many who feel that they know her in the first few minutes.
Lederer has a sharp wit and trails off midway or at the ends of her sentences as the words spill out of her fast as if telling a group of friends breathlessly. Indeed, there is no need to finish every word because we get what she is telling us. It’s also an endearing element to her delivery.
This actor knows how to use her facial expressions and eyes very well to comment non-verbally and add depth to her performance. As a storyteller, Lederer has perfect timing and uses repetition to great effect. Themes in this show are inspired from Lederer’s experiences as a performer, and topics around being of a certain age. The latter are fascinating as she forgets where she is in a story several times and refers to notes…these are brilliant devices because this interactivity draws the audience in, she’s relatable and smashes the fourth wall completely. She acts these moments so well that they set up a lot of her lines and repartee about fellow actors or her own misgivings.
How to describe her stories and comments without giving spoilers is difficult. However, she does what the title of her show says “I might as well say it” – words that come to mind about her material from the evening I saw her show are: self-effacing, acerbic, self obsessed, tragic, naïve.
She revels in social commentary, breaking rules on sets and says it like it is, she wears her heart on her sleeve, speaks honestly with delicious dollops of wit, envy and self deprecation peppered here and there – it’s a fast paced and entertaining show!