The title of stand-up Fiona Ridgewell‘s debut Fringe show could refer to her personality, her style of comedy, or the content of the hour itself. ‘No-Nonsense’ is an uneven but very likeable hour from an affable performer with an innate knack of establishing an easy rapport with her audience. Looking rather like Sarah Silverman and sounding like Stacey Solomon, she has an easy-going stage presence that makes everything sound like a chat between friends.

To say Ridgewell has a conversational style would be an understatement. You get the sense of someone who has just wandered into the venue and picked up the microphone, and who happily has the charm to pull it off. It’s a meat-and-potatoes show in terms of it serving as an introduction to Fiona as a person and establishing her onstage persona, both of which appear to be essentially the same thing. There is no pretense at a wider theme other than putting her life onto the stage. She hits on topics such as a break-up and her subsequent living arrangements with her mother and her grandmother, which leads to some nice material on generational relationships and the inherent shame of living back at home in your 30s.

It’s all nice but standard stuff, until a health scare reveals something of a medical anomaly, which adds a nice and unexpected twist to the otherwise gentle narrative. By this time, Fiona’s succeeding in making firm friends with her appreciative audience, and it’s in this area she excels. Her back-and-forth with the crowd (whom she can soon pretty much all refer to by name – a chummily intimate benefit that can come with a smaller Fringe audience) is often as witty or is even funnier than her scripted material. Before long she’s sussed which jokes work for which of her new friends, ‘That’s one for you Karen!’ she winks after a bit of Carry-On raunch. She really is impossible not to warm to.

As charming and exuberant as Ridegwell is, there is a little inconsistency in the material and her pacing today is a little off, forcing her to cut her intended finale ruthlessly short. She could do with either tightening the narrative itself, or perhaps shed some parts entirely in order to allow for the extra time getting to know her audience. One suspects that might be the way to go, given her deft crowd work and her winning personality. With nominations for awards at the Leicester Comedy Festival and a spot in the final of Funny Women, Fiona’s certainly on the right trajectory. This is a fine, and certainly ‘No-Nonsense’ introduction, to the crowds of Edinburgh for her.

‘No-Nonsense’ runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at PBH Free Fringe @Banshee Labyrinth – Chamber Room at 13:10