Having first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2008 (in which year she was nominated for the Best Newcomer gong), Pippa Evans is a veritable veteran of the festival. It’s commendable, then, that even after countless TV and radio appearances and a cabinet crammed with accolades, she still participates in the Free Fringe instead of charging the arm and leg (to which she is probably entitled) to allow us to bask in her comedic glow.
On the other hand, it might have been a little bit more comfortable had Pippa plumped for a larger venue. As it is, her unticketed show in the vaults of Bannerman’s Bar regularly sells out (if such a thing is possible for a free show), meaning that her hour of hysterical cabaret is a sweaty and somewhat claustrophobic experience.
Minor qualms about the venue aside, Pippa is a master of her art. Her ditzy, affable style makes her an instant hit as she interacts freely and funnily with all and sundry in the audience, never afraid to venture off-piste and improvise with endearing bumble. As for the scripted material, it consists largely of forays into her childhood and hilarious impressions of various personages, punctuated by swing-style ditties she’s penned herself.
Pretty much every single one of her jokes hits home and even the cajoling for audience participation – which can sometimes come off as awkward – is received with enthusiasm and good humour. In addition to a keen wit and irresistible charisma, she has also been blessed with an excellent set of pipes which she puts to good use throughout the show in lounge singer fashion.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a more consistently funny hour of comedy at the whole Fringe, and for a free lunchtime show, Pippa is undoubtedly the cream of the crop. It’s testament to her popularity and obvious ability that even on a weekday her show packs out and johnny-come-latelys are turned away in droves, so make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment.