Edinburgh Fringe Review – Julia Masli, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Monkey Barrel

Edinburgh Fringe Review – Julia Masli, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Monkey Barrel
Julia Masli is magic.
She appears in a white frilly outfit.  She has a golden leg instead of an arm, and another three little legs peeping from her oversized black hat.  There’s a light and a microphone which somehow end up strapped to her leg.
Masli stalks through the audience.  She smiles sweetly but also screams with rage.  We laugh with her and she begins to ask us questions.
At one point she takes away a woman’s chair and smashes it to bits, leaving her sitting on the floor.  The normal rules of comedy will not apply here.
Masli has built this whole show around audience interaction.  She’s here to make us happy and make us laugh – but also to push herself and us as far as we can go.
“Problem?” she asks?  Then tries to fix things for us – bringing together audience members who are looking for love, finding new friends for people who are lonely.
I end up sitting on a duvet on the stage with Dave Chapple, who holds the Guinness book of records for seeing the highest number of Fringe shows in a year.
A bisexual woman who wants to meet someone is given a choice of audience members.  There is a whip round for a woman who has lost a purse.  A volunteer is given the job of collecting information to be used later on.
Masli runs around her audience, bringing people together, re-arranging us, changing the energy in the room.   She has a drinking competition with a huge Finnish man and they dance together on stage.
A man is given tools and asked to fix the chair – and a woman called Serena says she is sad about the end of her relationship.
Serena becomes the star of the show.  She confesses she has always wanted to appear on stage naked – and so – with negotiation – discussion and offers of money, everything builds up to the finale.
As Serena starts to strip Masli also removes her elaborate costume and the pair of them end up naked crowd surfing across the room.  The office staff, the new romances, the drunken Viking and me and Dave are all dancing on the stage.
We’re all laughing – but we also feel exhilarated.  The rules have all been broken.  We are free.  Our problems have disappeared.
Afterwards Dave tells me he’s already seen the show twice and it was completely different but also completely wonderful the first time around.
“Absolutely brilliant” he says.  “It’s the best show I’ve ever seen.”  And Dave has seen a lot of shows.
Until August 27. Info here.
five stars


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