Candy Gigi: Chicken Soup

Who will love this clown? Everyone – if they dare.

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 08 Aug 2015

Looking for love is a familiar trope in Edinburgh comedy shows. Comedians' hours are antisocial—read that as perma-single—so it's an easily relatable topic, and there's plenty of scope for individual anecdotes as well as the broader familiar themes. Have the lovelorn idea intersect with a clown, unafraid to switch without warning between gleefully terrifying and sharply absurd, and you're left with something truly unusual.

Framed loosely within the construct of a romantic date with a member of the audience, Chicken Soup doesn't so much feed the soul as threaten it at knifepoint. Candy Gigi woos her potential paramour with a heady mix of music, dance, dinner and menace. With a controlled edge of hysteria, Gigi doesn't shy from making herself appear crudely grotesque and almost demonic at times. Not for the weak-stomached, Gigi demands we step into her world of skewed Jewish family ambitions and surreal co-stars. Commit and you will be rewarded. 

Fortunately, this tightrope balancing act is held together with a steely commitment to her persona and a real and vulnerable likeability. It's not new to use anger and desperation to elicit laughs, but this is done with such aggression and yet a deft touch that this is one of the finer examples of the technique. Gigi won the Malcolm Hardee award for comic originality last year, and it's easy to see why with her Machiavellian manipulation of tension and relief. Intense, anarchic, and near-hysterical shows are a gem in the Fringe. This is one.