Rachel Jackson is blonde ambition. She’s so close to the big time, even ‘The Rock’ is a fan (Jackson insists emphatically). There’s just one problem, every time she thinks she’s made it, life deals a doozy. Almost Famous is a break-neck and bittersweet romp through the sliding-door moments of Jackson’s career so far.
The Scottish comedian barrels through the hour in a whirlwind of jokes and arresting honesty. Her high-energy delivery and charm capture the audience’s attention and ensure their empathy as she provides a raw account of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since childhood. A dynamic storyteller, Jackson’s show is often both moving and extremely funny. It’s difficult to break away from the sense of taboo when the topic is mental health. Still, Jackson expertly navigates these pitfalls to deliver exemplary forthright comedy without cliche or stereotypes.
Demonstrating her acting background, Jackson fully commits to bringing each story to life with great enthusiasm and vigorous physicality. Occasionally, the initial intensity stagnates during a skit and is punched back with a booming quip heralding a change in direction. The result is a jarring ‘start/stop’ style of comedy which sometimes leaves the audience spinning their wheels.
Living with a mental illness can be an isolating and painful experience, and Jackson doesn’t hold back when revealing the darkness it has occasionally smothered her in. But monsters shrink when forced into the light, and Jackson’s ownership of her OCD makes the comedic overtures shine all the brighter. As a result, the show is well placed to resonate with many who come to see it. Ultimately, Jackson achieves a rare thing in Almost Famous; by finding the humour in her own painful experiences, she is opening the door to better awareness as well as creating great entertainment.