The Fringe this year reminds me of No Face from Spirited Away; it seems intent on growing and growing and consuming all of Edinburgh. The problem with that is that some good acts fall between the cracks. Hell, I didn’t even know Milton Jones was on at this year’s Fringe and if someone who is on TV can’t cut through the noise to Joe Public, then what hope do smaller acts have? When I turn up to the Underbelly Cowgate the venue is remarkably empty for a Friday night and that’s a real shame. I wonder if it’s because the performer’s name looks difficult to pronounce, containing so many letters that it reads like an unsolved Countdown conundrum. No one sits in the front row, so most of us sit in the second row thinking we’re being clever and being protected by a wall of chairs. Of course with a smaller audience the chairs are plucked away and the second row becomes the first row. Uh oh, I think.

Having been to seventeen shows in the last few days I’m feeling a bit of Fringe Fatigue and it was a genuine struggle to head out. Thankfully Abigoliah Schamaun hits the ground running – literally. From the off she has us all on our feet, hands in the air, then some squats, and then – well you’ll just have to see for yourself. And BOOM, just like that we’re all energised and motivated for the show. Audience participation at its finest as we’re already laughing before we’ve even started.

From the title and the warm up section you can probably guess that Schamaun’s show revolves around fitness but really the true focus is about how each of us try to improve our health and wellbeing. Her stories explore how so many of these programs are just cults and with reference to her own journey to become a yoga instructor, improve her diet, and get fit, she explains the ease with which she keeps falling into them.

Interspersed with this narrative is her love for musicals and her desire to become a star. Hearing Schamaun talk about the musicals she loves is enamouring and radiates a child-like joy that’s infectious, like having an eight year old explain a Disney princess story. She asks us: “does anyone here love musicals?” Oh course we do, I wanted to cry but it’s a small crowd and I don’t want to be picked on. I’ve taken my press pass off as I’m sure some acts find it distracting knowing I’m there judging them. However, this tragically backfires as I am later picked out to help with a yoga position in front of everyone. I was hopeless.

That said, the short workout gave me the perfect excuse to go and order Five Guys burgers on my way home and I’m sure that’s the key message Schamaun was aiming for.

Worth going?
Yes

Abigoliah Schamaun’s Namaste, Bitches runs until 27th August at Underbelly Cowgate, 19:40.