By Ron Bingham
Get Happy is Anna’s sophomore show at the Fringe. It’s a sort of sequel to last year’s Woman Of The Year, revisiting a number of the characters including the beauty blogger (or is it vlogger now?) from Newcastle, the overly chirpy vicar desperate to beat the rival church down the road, a lovely elderly lady looking for a lover who’s not about to pop his clogs, and a wellness guru who wants us all to be happy.
Anna is a very accomplished character sketch comedy performer. She also indulges in a bit of audience participation (you can’t hide) and luckily for Anna, the audience I was with were very enthusiastic in joining in. She’s very charming and good at making her audience feel positive about taking part. A friendly pianist is also on stage throughout, filling in while she is changing characters and providing accompaniment to Anna’s songs.
Get Happy flows nicely with barely a gap, the jokes are well delivered and they work well with each character.You don’t have to see the previous show (many in today’s audience hadn’t) but you might want to after seeing this (she is performing an encore season of Woman Of The Year at Gilded Balloon at Old Tolbooth Market (https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/anna-nicholson-woman-of-the-year ) until August 18). Well delivered and well received, it garnered a rapturous applause from an almost full house at the end of the hour.
Get Happy is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves until August 25
By Ron Bingham
An idea for a reality show in a Fringe show that takes a character sketch show to a more interesting level. Anna Nicholson is staging an entertaining competition to find the Woman of the Year where she introduces and plays the four finalists in the competition and the audience get to pick the winner.
The characters are all memorable with distinctive regional accents which Anna pulls off brilliantly. Denise, the professional bra-fitter; Bianca, the Geordie Instagram star and Vlogger; Reverend Ruth, the pushily friendly vicar; and Shirley, the overly excitable geriatric from Yorkshire. Each is given two chances to influence the audience, to get their vote, and Anna also plays with a member of the audience as herself.
Also on stage, is piano player Bobby Goulder backing Anna admirably, as her various persona’s belt out their signature songs. Anna’s various costume changes were swift and theatrically interesting and there was hardly a pause in the flow of the show.
Anna is a charming comic performer who played all the characters superbly, the jokes were funny and well timed, the songs were well executed and the whole show was lively and family friendly. The audience joined in with the fun at the appropriate moments and a winner was chosen.
Woman of the Year is in Just the Spare Room at The Caves, which is very much the same size and shape of a railway carriage at peak hour, the only difference being nobody is standing up and there is no ventilation. Very hot and stifling, even for an Edinburgh Fringe venue. It was an enjoyable show that managed to help make you forget the discomfort, but I heartily recommend bringing a fan and some water.
Anna Nicholson performs Woman of the Year at Just the Tonic at The Caves til August 26.