Nic Wright

Edinburgh Fringe review: Josie Long, Cara Josephine

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After making a name for herself with her line of fiery political outrage, and cheerful whimsy, Josie Long places herself under the microscope for her new show, Cara Josephine.

Following a devastating and prolonged period of heartbreak, last year Long found herself once again single; nowhere she hadn’t been before, only this time, her friends were now settled in established relationships, having children, being grown-ups.

Faced with the gruesome notion that she wasn’t getting any younger, and feeling doomed to repeat the same mistakes over again, Long recounts her aching chapter of self-examination for our pleasure.

Shows about love, calamity, and self-improvement are ten-a-penny these days, but no one packs a punch quite like Josie Long. Equal parts devastating and gaspingly-hilarious, Long jokes that she has the “heart of a poet” when turning a particularly neat phrase about a teenager’s love bite, but she’s not wrong.

Articulating pain and hope and baby-squeezing, face-smushing love in such tender, visceral clarity, even during the rare moments when Long isn’t doing a silly voice or gurning for laughs, she is enrapturing in a way only true poets can be.

Boundlessly enthusiastic, Long’s greatest gift is her utter genuineness; the sweeping tangents she takes us on – be it about the joys of 1920s American slang, or taking Nigel Farage on a moonlit picnic – are relayed with such sparkling enthusiasm, it’s as though she were describing them for the very first time.

The first to call herself out on her own “Amelie-esque shit”, Long’s self-awareness and indisputable compassion trump any of the more noble, artsy sentiments in the show. While she briefly riffs on social injustice, despair, and  the ominous shadow of her rocky upbringing, it’s impossible for her to be downbeat for long, with brilliantly spun set-pieces and gauche physical comedy forever around the corner.

Vulnerable, warm and buoyant, Long has crafted a show nothing short of joyous; delivering an heartbreakingly accurate portrayal of loss and self-doubt, in turns endearing and blisteringly funny.

Date of live review: 9 August 2014 @ The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle

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