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Jo Caulfield – Pretending to Care

Caulfield remains a fearless tour de force

Jo Caulfield

An alumnus of Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and the John Bishop Show, Jo Caulfield has cut her teeth with the current pack of comedy performers on the eclectic comedy scene.

As the Edinburgh Fringe heads towards its final furlong, Jo’s early evening show at the Stand is packing the house, but it might still be possible to procure a last minute ticket, as I did.

In a varied comedy career that saw her work with Graeme Norton, and host her own show on Radio 4 Jo is fearless with a feminist tour de force take on life, love and shopping and shagging!

She is not ashamed to admit that she hails from Melton Mowbray the place where pies are the primary export and that the town also boasts that it is the home of Pedigree Chum. So it is an obvious laughter link to say: “I’m slightly suspicious of the jelly around the pork pie.”

Currently a resident of the cool “Republic of Leith” Jo shamelessly scats on the concerns of sassy Lothian ladies of a certain age, ahem. Her comedy resonates with the avid audience, many of whom are local. It was great to swap notes on life and Leith living when we chatted after the show.

In the tradition of stand-up she interacts with the audience and especially the front row who get the “How long have you been married?” treatment. It transpires a long time for most of them – hence the front row rocking their “I can see in the dark and don’t need specs” attitude. I don’t believe this was a plant, as it seemed accidental when she asked an older gent “What is your name?” to which he responded Brian. She comes back with “You look more like a Findlay, proper old posh money in Perth.” The audience erupts to his respons: “My last name is Findlay.”

There is also a whole routine about the matronly ladies of Morningside who meet for eats and try to pay their bills with mothballed World War two ration vouchers. Again it’s a local gag but appreciated by an avid audience who totally get the aged aunties and ancient matriarchs gag.

When Jo ends up by accident in a “gentlemans’ club with a “platonic friend” and feels the need to show her seedy side by pole dancing, the trouble is she can’t stop talking as she describes her every move. This was laugh out loud as she gyrated and narrated.

In a short but sharp set she puts a new slant on the mother-in-law joke, formerly fodder for old-style male sexist stand ups. In the best comedic tradition she keeps the best gag until the end and leaves the audience gagging for more.

This is her piece de resistance – the mother-in-law who can’t let the apron strings go and constantly critiques the daughter-in-law about how her son likes his toast and how he likes his tea. How mother-in-law can do it all better. Daughter-in-law comes back in graphic detail with how her son likes his oats! Exit stage to tumultuous applause.

Loved it. More please.

Rating: *****

The Stand August 23 – 28, nightly 7.50pm (Over 18s)

Jo Caulfield’s other Fringe show, Can I Stop You There? a late night collaborative showcase with three other comics each night kicks off nightly at 11.15pm from August 22-28 at the Gilded Balloon Teviot – Billiard Room.

 

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