reviews and recommendations

Sooz Kempner: Queen

After her last Edinburgh show Character Activist, 2012 Funny Women Variety Award winner Sooz Kempner returns as herself; a musical comedian/office worker whose life soundtrack is dominated by the music of Queen.  We caught her Edinburgh preview of her new show Queen on the Good Ship Benefit as part of the Funny Women Edinburgh Preview Festival.

Musical comedy, in my opinion, is hard to do. Half the trick of what makes comedy funny is the feigned spontenaity of the jokes, a stand up can spend 100s of hours honing their jokes to seemingly off the cuff perfection. When you have to shoehorn a song into a monologue it’s hard to give the impression you just suddenly because overwhelmed with the urge to sing. And hey, good thing I brought this ukelele!

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Sometimes, I suspect in order to roughen the sheen of musical comedy to make it more palatable, a musical comedian might create a shambolic style to make their witty asides seem more witty and unrehearsed. Sooz Kempner instead simply cracks out an honest and charming performance.

Sooz talks about her vulnerabilities, her life and career in a manner that seems beautifully intimate and off the cuff, occasionally breaking off to sing a Queen song. It’s testament to how likeable a performer Sooz is that I didn’t mind this. Because I hate Queen. I hate them. But it turns out I don’t mind their songs so much when sung with lyrics tweaked by a comedian on a keyboard. Also the musical We Will Rock you is touched upon unaffectionately – making me believe Sooz should be given the opportunity to rewrite the book to said musical.

It’s rare you can describe musical comedy as relaxed, which is why this show is so different, fun and endearing. You’ll laugh and you’ll want to buy Sooz a round of blue drinks. I strongly suggest you add this show to your Edinburgh Fringe schedule.

★★★

Sooz Kempner’s show Queen will be at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Underbelly at 12:10pm 3rd-29th August. For more information and tickets click here!