“Saturday evening at the Fringe, you’ve probably either seen eight shows and hate comedy or you’re pissed,” says Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, speaking to my soul as I was very much in the former camp. Watching the corporate machine of the packed to the rafters Pleasance Courtyard complex churn on, as millennial yuppies on the quest for banter quaffed prosecco while cutting through the queue for the Attic, I can safely say that I hated everyone and everything. Though reviewing is nothing compared to maintaining the energy to perform and publicise a show over an entire month, there’s still a Fringe wall to be hit. Waiting to go in to Pritchard-Mclean’s show, I was in dire need of a change of perspective. Pritchard-McLean met and surpassed those expectations as an antidote to the festival monolith, reminding me why the Fringe is important in the first place.
Surrounded by DIY glittering planets hanging from strings, Pritchard-Mclean navigates millennial anxieties, examining why they have stopped having children from her perspective as someone with experience mentoring a young teenager. Also covered are topics such as splitting from a long-term partner, eyelashes on cars and striking the right balance between personal fulfilment and civic responsibility, drawing Pritchard-Mclean an audience which includes an entire row of drunk women from the countryside with a Tory among their ranks, as well as Daniel Kitson and Mark Watson. Not a beat is missed though, with the striking sense that Pritchard-Mclean is like this both onstage and off – a conscientious, talented mind with a strong voice, more than attuned to her own flaws and able to identify those in other people and society without coming across as pious.
The confusion that comes with trying to do the right thing in a world that feels utterly broken can be paralysing, but Pritchard-Mclean’s skepticism is a healthy, evolving lens to apply. It’s rare to come out of a show feeling emboldened and empowered to change things for the better, but Pritchard-Mclean offers a solution and impassioned plea to give people your time, if nothing else. “If you have an hour to see me talk about Mooncups, you’ve got time to spare,” she giggles. So take two hours. With the first, help yourself and see Pritchard-Mclean, then with the second, help someone else. You’ll be two carveries away from piles before you know it*.
*Trust me, it’s on a badge and you’ll be wearing it with pride before the night is out.
Kiri Pritchard-McLean’s Appropriate Adult runs until 28th August at the Pleasance Courtyard, 20:15.