A frank and filthy hour from a noticeably self-confident performer, Losing Myself also serves as a reminder that self-confidence isn’t always what it appears. Sometimes, it is very hard won.
By way of introduction, Barron kicks off with some culture clash material. We buy it instantly that this wise-cracking Canadian – so loud she could be confused for one of her southern neighbours, she admits – is going to brush up against buttoned up Brits. Especially the repressed menfolk…
The early audience back-and-forth is soon giving way to bedroom back-and-forth: the fuckboys and bad shags she’s had since she moved here. Among her hook-ups there’s instantly picturable characters – the jabbering posh boy who can’t spell out what his kink is, the irritant who wants to play devil’s advocate to everything she says – and she’s cruelly accurate at impersonating them. There’s possibly a few blokes’ ears burning in the audience, perhaps more so depending on how they undress for sex or what their manicure regime is.
But beneath all the tales of who did what to who and how, there’s signs that Barron’s not entirely emotionally neutral on all this or as confident as she appears. There’s an enlightening tale about how she developed an idealised and damaging view of romantic love watching The Little Mermaid as a kid and how she now realises she was being sold bullshit. (Interestingly, there’s another show doing exactly that at this year’s Fringe). She pokes fun at herself for having once been so heavy no-one could kidnap her. There’s the real-life manifestation of her idealised love – she had a man who adored her for who she was, but then she realised he wasn’t for her. All this, all delivered with heaps of jokes, begins to build a picture about what Barron really felt about herself before her recent dramatic weight loss, and to some extent still does.
When the jokes finally stop, for her to complete the story of her emotional weight loss journey, we’re right there with her. Everyone’s been loving the ribald stuff; the sudden gear change is a real wake-up call to the other dimension of the gig. After a point though its impact lessens the longer she stays with it. She’s snapped us out of the laughter to make an emotional point very well. Is she going to get back to the fuckboys and snap us back in again, all the better to preserve the connection she’s made?
It leaves the funny/serious balance a little out of whack but that’s just a bit of over-Edinburghisation of what has otherwise been a cool, straight-talking, basement club gig with a lot of soul.