Edinburgh Fringe Review – Avital Ash Workshops Her Suicide Note, Monkey Barrel at the Tron

Edinburgh Fringe Review – Avital Ash Workshops Her Suicide Note, Monkey Barrel at the Tron

I've seen a lot of personal, confessional comedy shows over the years, but this one is different. Very different. As the trigger warning title suggests, it is a show about suicide. But also much more. The one thing I'm not sure about is whether it counts as a comedy show. It is certainly funny in places, but also very hard to laugh at in other places. Powerful stuff certainly. Stand-up? I'm not so certain.

US based stand-up comedian, actor, writer & director Ash goes into the kind of horrific corners of life you might expect from the title. There is already a dark history in her family, as she explains how her birth mother took her own life, which obviously casts a big shadow. Then go back only a little further and you've got holocaust trauma passed through the generations to deal with if you can. Another big shadow. Throw in sexual assault, anxiety, growing up queer in a strict Jewish household and there is almost so much to unpick there is hardly any room for humour to find a path through.

And yet. And yet. Despite all of this and further thoughts that go way beyond the usual stand-up parameters, there is definitely something compelling here. I write a lot about comedians who are able to "find the funny" in anything. And I was drawn to see this show because this interview with Ash did make me laugh a lot. Onstage it suddenly feels more real and less comical than on the page, but there is a candour in the flesh and in the moment that has you hooked on every word.

She can certainly see the funny side in places onstage. Nobody wants to turn into their mother, she jokes, and suicide would be just that. As an audience member you might find yourself in something of a fix. Just because she finds these things funny does that mean we have permission to find them funny too? I guess so. Ash makes jokes that are so bleak, just so out there, you might recoil. But they are also sometimes so funny you will laugh as you recoil. 

Until August 27. Info here.

Read more reviews here.



four stars


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