Liz Miele: Mind Over Melee

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Liz Miele
Published 13 Aug 2016

There's no ceremony to Liz Miele's arrival, taking to the stage without intro music or even an announcement – she just starts telling jokes. Mind Over Melee is a simple hour of incredibly well-penned gags.

Ironically, though she appears calm and collected, she's apparently anxiety-ridden and consequently likes to be very well organised to combat the crazy, which may well explain the serene demeanour. Though this is the 31-year-old Italian American's first Edinburgh Fringe, Miele's no stranger to gigging in Europe, having been over here a few times. In fact, she beds in with some American-in-Europe gags, largely telling the tale of her difficulties getting into Finland – and building a quiet confidence in the process.

But in the main Miele likes to keep things close to the bone, while revealing enough of herself and her vulnerabilities to counterbalance it. Routines about being press-ganged into going to the museum at Pearl Harbour, her thoughts on not having children, and getting into fights with orthodox Jewish men who drive vans are on the edge, but handled skilfully. Elsewhere she confesses to the need for visits to her therapist, the history of suicide in her family and her turbulent childhood. But it's not all "poor me" – it's matter of fact, this is how it is. She's reached acceptance.

Elsewhere there are more regular topics where Miele's sass comes to the fore – yelling at strangers on the New York City Subway and her, increasingly bewildering to her, new-found obsession with sex.

An assured Fringe debut.