With Princess Diana’s death now (gasp) 22 years ago, comedian Rachel Fairburn thinks the moniker ‘The People’s Princess’ is fair game and would quite like the title. Fairburn’s connection to Diana is highlighted in a hilarious bedroom anecdote, delivered with the Mancunian comic’s trademark cynical delivery. The People’s Princess sees the co-host of the popular true crime podcast, All Killa No Filla, tackle ageism, friendships and classism with enough 90s references to keep nostalgia lovers happy.
Fairburn’s material is always brutally honest, last year’s show The Wolf at the Door contained as much raw emotion as humour and it’s great to see her enjoy a lighter set with a high gag rate. Class looms large in the comedian’s work – she is aware of how she sounds in a festival dominated by middle-class voices, including the audience she’s performing to. She makes the smart point that the c-word is only deemed culturally acceptable and edgy when it’s delivered in a posh voice like Fleabag and the same word said in her accent would be deemed offensive.
The comedian is most animated at her most scathing – observations on ageism are smart and funny and the audience find themselves nodding and laughing along in recognition. The societal pressure to settle down and have kids when you hit a certain age is also played for laughs and relatable to anyone who’s been asked inane questions about ‘settling down’ by friends and relatives.
Fairburn is a sharp, nuanced comedian who sometimes appears to lack a little confidence in the spotlight and is thrown a couple of times during the set. There are a few lulls in an otherwise strong hour and this may be caused by the conceit being a little slight. After a really strong opening it’s difficult to maintain the momentum and the show would benefit from a more cohesive narrative. A good hour, which will leave you entertained and reminiscing the 90s – if you were old enough to enjoy them!