Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Samantha Pressdee, Covered, PQA Venues @ Riddles Court

With her camouflage designer frock, her fuck off boots and her pink tipped hair Samantha Pressdee looks every inch the urban warrior.

And she genuinely puts herself on the frontline – having joined the anarchist squatters protesting against social cleansing at the Sweets Way estate in North London.

She’s also one of many comics talking about mental health on the Fringe – in her case being diagnosed bipolar, being sectioned and learning to live without medication.

Pressdee is not supposed to be here. She is from the fourth most deprived town in Britain, in the Black Country. 

People from where she comes from go on the Jeremy Kyle show, she says, not the Edinburgh Fringe.

But she is determined to speak out – particularly on behalf of the people who don’t get to have their say – who are too ill, too poor, too lacking in confidence to describe what life is like in Austerity Britain. 

Pressdee has supporters in the comedy world. Her show is directed by Phil Nichol, Russell Brand joined the protests at Sweets Way and Mark Thomas is her cousin 

But she has also had detractors, who have slagged her off on internet forums, trolled her online and even created a spoof account in her name. 

It’s true her squeaky voice makes her hard to listen to at first. She has an unusual way of speaking which doesn’t particularly lend itself to witticism. And she has an unfortunate compulsion to make every joke some kind of graphic sexual reference. 

But Pressdee really comes into her own when she speaks passionately about the realities of life for mentally ill people in Tory Britain. She is not afraid to go into the nitty gritty of the struggle to claim benefits. She is not ashamed to admit she has been to foodbanks to survive. 

Pressdee has even formed her own comedy pressure group – the Barmy Army, which includes fellow comics Laura Lexx , Dave Chawner and Juliette Burton – and whose members pledge not to submit to the state, to challenge stigma and to support themselves and each other. 

When Pressdee gets angry on behalf of friends who have suffered terribly because of austerity her voice becomes strong and clear.

The finale of her show is beautifully written and genuinely moving with a message which really needs to be heard.

Until August 26. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

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