Monkey Barrel 3 – Venue 515

August 2-26th

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)

As a grinning Tiff Stevenson takes the stage in the Monkey Barrel venue, there is a strange calm that comes over me. ‘Mother’ is Stevenson’s ninth Edinburgh show, so I feel safe in the knowledge that there is an experienced captain at the helm to lead us through the next hour.

As an opening to ‘Mother’, Stevenson divulges a personal story from her earlier years – a bold few minutes that immediately hooks the audience. From there, seatbelts are firmly fastened as Stevenson goes on to create routines about some topics other comedians may shy away from: abortion, feminism, class. We hear anecdotes regarding the ‘Didn’t Happen of the Year’ Awards, what she really thinks of Starbucks coffee and her thoughts on what it means to be a ‘mother’. My personal favourite is a well-structured analogy about men who wear expensive watches in public.

As Stevenson speaks to the audience, she addresses the fact that this show is for everyone. There is a strong feminist message throughout, but she does not have anything against men. I believe speaking about this is one of the strengths of the show. It makes everyone more accepting of the things she talks about and the points she puts across through her jokes (unlike some of the trolls from her boisterous Twitter feed). It also creates a sense of likeability and trust in the comedian, things that Tiff already has in spades.

No question about it, Tiff Stevenson is one of the most important voices in comedy today. This show is one that warrants an audience for two reasons: it is laugh out loud funny and because the message that runs through the show is truly poignant and, by the end, left a few audience members quite emotional. A thoroughly entertaining show from one of the best comedians you’ll see at the Fringe.

James Macfarlane