I really, really hate writing bad reviews (unless the show makes me viscerally angry). Everybody has worked incredibly hard on bringing their shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, and it’s an undeniably tough market to thrive in with thousands of shows competing against each other for your attention. So it sucks that I didn’t enjoy Tami Stone: My Funny Bits.
Four performances delivered in monologue, Tami Stone plays an irritating actress, an irritating tour guide, an irritating singer, an irritating speed dater… you can see the pattern. There are changes in occupation, but Andrew Ludlam’s script lacks any substantial changes in character; they’re all grating to the other (unseen) characters around them, all unsuccessful in their missions, and all played with few alterations in mannerism or delivery by Stone herself.
There are funny lines here and there, and there’s not necessarily anything innately unfunny about the respective characters – they are entertaining at points. But it’s the equivalent of if every Little Britain character was a variation of Daffyd Thomas; it doesn’t work when the same thing is being performed over and over again. Indeed, the impact of this is enhanced by virtue of it being a one-woman show, and it’s possible it would all play differently were there other performers for Stone to bounce off of.
Obviously, it’s too late to start drafting in new performers for a Fringe show in the middle of its run, but a few tweaks here and there could improve My Funny Bits. Changing accent and delivery between the characters, rewriting their exploits, changing some of the jokes (there was a punchline towards the end about Stone’s singer character’s sister being a “full-time lesbian,” which doesn’t really make sense and nor does it land).
Tami Stone: My Funny Bits is at TheSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall, 20:15, until August 17th.