Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

They may all be in their late fifties, but these Bad Aunts want you to know that despite what society says, they still have what it takes to entertain their audiences with a ‘chat show’ in one of the aunt’s living rooms. They want to know how bad their audience are and, on the way, they share their own worries and fears – as well as trying to solve their audience’s problems too.

The three aunts (Max, Dee and Jo) each have distinct personalities and are going through something of a midlife crisis. Maz has just lost her job and partner, Dee has lost her creative ‘chakra’ and Jo is in love with the local postman but feels guilty about how her late husband Gerald would feel.

The project is the brainchild of Untoward Productions. Elinor Lipman and Eloise Poulton set up the company to bring innovative content to a diverse range of audiences and Bad Aunts is the culmination of this philosophy. This production is probably aimed at a certain age bracket of audience member, but still has enough madness and mayhem to keep everyone entertained and it is commendable to steer away from the middle class student audience who make up quite a large chunk of the Fringe programme.

The chat show part of Bad Aunts is somewhat lost in translation. It’s not clear at all where the ‘chat’ part is. It is more a tale of three women finding their way and regaining their confidence. There is music, poetry, a game show of sorts, an agony aunt section and plenty of very odd scenes which border on the vulgar, but which are just about covered by the one-liners from the three actresses: Denise Stephenson (Maz), Penelope McDonald (Dee) and Vivienne Sloan (Jo).

The three characters are the most fully formed part of the show and could lend themselves to other productions with a more tidy and linear approach, in which the audience might be more capable of understanding exactly what they had just witnessed.