COMEDY REVIEW: Your Aunt Fanny – Muff Said @ Live Theatre, Newcastle (22.07.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Nothing compares to the vibe of a Your Aunt Fanny show, especially on the eve of Pride weekend. Wrapped in identical pink boilersuits and tumbling through the venue like that seven-headed wild beast from  Revelations (but fitter and less apocalyptic-y), the lasses were greeted with a tsunami of whoops and cheers from a diverse, eager audience.

Pumped up with the expectation of a good time from a show finely tuned over the past couple of years, the crowd was left floored by the latest from the phenomenal comedy troupe, a show dragged kicking and screaming from the grasp of Covid derailment and now red hot and ready for primetime at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Though certainly not a prerequisite for attending, as a Queer Northern lass there’s something uniquely special about seeing this group of womxn perform. It’s not often I see the world around me – both grander societal and deliciously local – reflected through a lens like my own, much less see a group so here and Queer command the stage so relentlessly. 

Through subtle (and not so subtle) changes in posture, expression and accent, each Fanny effortlessly embodied different genders, generations, classes – and even species. Always inclusive and diverse in their comedy, the piss is royally taken out of everyone with no one left behind. 

These sketches cover a lot of ground, from a painfully realistic depiction of being the token female amongst the manspreaders/splainers, through a rent-a-mam service, wildly uncomfortable surreal charity phone calls, a disastrous hen do, Wuthering Heights by way of Benwell, a Geordie mam’s choir, and Love Island infused with more malapropisms than margaritas. 

Brilliantly, the Fannies have incorporated a reoccurring figure in Alan, a perfect caricature of local cabbies as full of heart as they are of gob, who rides in to pick up the characters after their sketches are through. Punctuating stand-alone sketches that feel like weird, fever-dream, late-night TV or the arse-end of YouTube, Alan and other Fanny creations are revisited throughout the show, their worlds colliding to further the absurdity – and beautiful local realism – of the evermore complex Fanny Cinematic Universe. 

A highlight in a night full of them was the Fannies at the back of the stage laughing pre-emptively at what was to come, setting the front Fannies off and rendering the whole crowd in hysterics with nary a line delivered. It’s this atmosphere that makes seeing this group, who clearly love what they do, such a fucking riot. Infectious and inclusive, the audience is brought in on the joke for a vibe unrivalled by any other comedy group.

Even after seeing parts of this show a few times now, so many lines are delivered containing multiple levels of humour that I still have moments of realisation days later, moments which are hard to explain when I’m cracking up in the middle of a meeting or laughing wildly on my own making a cuppa.

While Northernness permeates the show, Muff Said is accessible to everyone, even those not lucky enough to be from here – after all, everywhere has its own version of radgies. For those in the know, it adds an extra richness to a comedy broth that is sure to translate fantastically into the Edinburgh Fringe atmosphere, delighting all from around the world. 

I know reviewers often say ‘this show can’t be missed’, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you pass up the opportunity to see the Fannies on stage, whether it’s when they’re back in town or even if it means hiking to Edinburgh and sleeping in a park, don’t be shan – gan!

Your Aunt Fanny perform Muff Said at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh from Thursday 4th-Saturday 27th August.

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