Singer, composer, musician and comedian Vikki Stone acknowledges there’s a lot going on in the world at the moment. But she’s choosing not to talk about it. Instead, she offers a glorious set of musical comedy and stand-up about dogs, Facebook stalking, her mother’s drinks cabinet, and novelty songs – among other things.
In keeping with what’s arguably the big theme of this year’s Fringe, there’s much nostalgia here. A child of the 1980s, Stone asks – in song – why babies aren’t called Vikki anymore and unpacks the Chicken Song for us. It’s all very escapist and a lot of fun. Her combined childhood influences of musical theatre, classical music and silly songs are evident in her creations. Stone’s voice, mellifluous and powerful, wouldn’t be out of place in the West End and as well as accompanying herself, she writes her own songs. This gives her brand of theatrical comedy (you can tell she’s a panto veteran) an edge. By juxtaposing sound with the comic intention, she creates subtly clever setups for unexpected punchlines, resulting in some explosive laughs.
And her choice of topics isn’t exclusively frothy. Stone tackles a rare and surprisingly controversial one – her desire not to have children, as a woman in her mid-thirties. While the Fringe has an abundance of work surrounding parenthood (motherhood in particular), little is being said on this matter. She discusses her reasons and the stigma/disbelief she receives because of her decision, in some moments of helpful and open profundity.
But Song Bird never becomes heavy and as the show progresses, the laughter only increases. It’s tightly scripted, but when she does go off-piste with some audience chat, it’s a delight too.
There are some interactive moments, including being taught to clap in time properly en masse (it’s much funnier than it sounds). The finale – which I won’t spoil – offers a nice callback. This skilled comic doesn’t let up in her energy and commitment and has the audience in the palm of her hand throughout. By the end we feel as if we’re mates with Vikki. Which of course we’re not, but as with any really good performer, she has that way of making us feel as if we are.