The Edinburgh Fringe is almost upon us, with a host of TVO favourites set to descend upon the city between 2nd and 26th August. In the build up, we’re bringing you a great show to go and see (almost) every weekday – from our regulars to shows beyond the usual confines of Onion Land.
Today’s showcase highlights one of the more recent additions to the Onion family, with the debut full length show from critically acclaimed Aisling Bea.
Aisling Bea: C’est La Bea
Gilded Balloon Teviot
31 July – 26th August
It was Tom Meeten who once said that the world which we delight in reporting on: Onion Land, Booshdom, New Wave Comedy, whatever you want to call it as it doesn’t officially have a name – is incestuous. Everyone knows everyone else, and on the whole, everyone loves everyone else too. In amongst that core group who traipsed the stages of Ealing Live and the Hen & Chickens all those years ago, are a handful of fresher faces who have been taken into the fold, and embraced because their shared sensibilities align.
Aisling Bea is one such talent, albeit one more than capable of standing on her own two feet. After a decade on and off the circuit, quietly building up a small but vocal following, Bea became only the second female comic in history to scope the prestigious “So You Think You’re Funny” award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.
And quite right too, because funny she certainly is. A founding member of sketch troupe and Fringe veterans H-Bam, Aisling has been cropping up in acting roles on the tellybox since 2009, first catching TVO’s watchful eye with an appearance in Come Fly With Me. Recently, she’s been making videos with our very own Fergus Craig, and appearing in CBBC sketch show Fit alongside the likes of Tony Way.
Last year, she appeared alongside Waen Shepherd in Fringe play The Intervention, got Rachel Stubbings to stub out her problems, and preceded her SYTYT victory with appearances in two more Onion related tv shows. A recurring role beckoned in the Rufus Jones scripted Cardinal Burns, as did a leading support role alongside Sharon Horgan and Edward Hogg in prison sitcom Dead Boss. In the latter, she almost stole the show and refused to give it back – with a character that was so delightfully bitchy and airheaded you couldn’t help but want to see more of her, and when you’re sharing the screen with Horgan, Hogg, Jennifer Saunders, Miranda Richardson and Forbes Mason amongst others, that’s no mean feat.
The real Aisling is not at all like her Dead Boss persona, but she’s certainly not adverse to making audiences fold into hysterics as she bends and contorts her tall, elegant frame into grotesque poses and facial expressions to complement her oddly charming brand of crude, honest stand-up. Like Sarah Kendall before her, Bea is a female stand-up who seems aware of her ability to catch the eye, only to then turn audience expectations on a head and deliver rapid fire gags with pinpoint precision.
With a gift for storytelling, it’s no surprise that she’s already headlining comedy nights (such as the recent re-opening night of Clarks), without having performed a stand-up show of her own at the Fringe in full previously. Playing on a healthy dose of mild xenophobia (she loves the hippity-hop!), the puntastic title shows that Aisling doesn’t take herself seriously, even when the comedy world that surrounds her can’t help but do so because, put simply, she’s too damn good not to.
Thankfully for us, her path and that of other TVO regulars keeps on crossing, so it is only natural to once more extend our family and officially make Miss Bea part of our fold. And we guarantee that, if you go to see C’est La Bea, the chances are you’ll be glad we did…