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Adele Cliff: Sheep

at Just the Tonic @ the Caves

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Some snappy lines from Dave listed joke merchant get lost in a poorly constructed narrative.

Image of Adele Cliff: Sheep

Adele Cliff, selected amongst Dave’s Funniest Jokes of the Fringe in 2016 and 2017, now brings her debut hour-long comedy show to the Fringe, featuring anecdotes and one-liners on sibling rivalry, friendships and pivotal sheep encounters.

The premise of Cliff’s show is that she’s a bit of an outsider, a self-proclaimed nerd who is more of a follower than a leader. She’s the eldest of three sisters, but the black sheep of the family. While her siblings have pursued careers in science, Cliff found her calling in comedy. We discover as a teenager she struggled to find lasting friendships and was always on the periphery of the popular crowd. She bought numerous friendship bracelets to try and secure buddies but found the bracelets weren’t as much of a binding contract as she’d have liked. She muses that it would be terrible to do comedy about having no friends to a room full of people who didn’t laugh at her jokes and sadly this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyone expecting an hour of quick-fire puns and gags will be sadly disappointed. The show tries too hard to weave a bunch of one-liners into a narrative structure and despite a packed room, many of the jokes fail to gain more than a gentle titter. Audience interactions fall flat and even a funny line about a Toy Story realisation fails to win the crowd back.

Cliff has a likeable stage presence and the Dave nominations show she can write good jokes. Maybe as the run progresses, she will shape the show into something more suited to her style of comedy.