It’s a year of incredibly strong debuts at Edinburgh Fringe, and Celya AB is right up there at the top. She’s dressing for the job she wants (maternity leave) but the job she’s got is definitely the right one — thank goodness she made the jump into full-time comedy this year.
Fresh from the office, we are regaled with spot-on observations (“people wearing beige talking about lunch”) and tales of her unlikely work friendship with Brexiter Susan. She brings new perspectives to oft-covered topics such as romcom tropes, positioning herself as a “pick me girl”, who can eat an entire pizza because she’s not like the other girls.
Between stories, she slips in a few perfectly formed one-liners and glorious puns that elicit an affectionate, eye-rolling “eurgh” from the audience and a very loud “yay” from me. She basks in the glow of these groans, strutting around the stage with her arms outstretched.
As a France-to-Birmingham export, Celya takes a withering aim at Englishness. It’s a wonderful thing to see a room being insulted (at least the English Fringe-goers) and loving it — we’re all firmly on board with our collective character assassination from the get-go. A classic “pick me” audience.
The title Swimming gives reference to her not being able to swim until age 25, the inevitable outcome of lying to her swim-teacher love interest, and ending up at a pool on a date. With Celya, there is finally someone asking the important questions, like: why haven’t we as a society evolved to create flattering goggles?
Stand-out moments come when she turns character comic, acting out her phone’s coy response to plugging in her bank details, and when she embraces the surreal, adopting the persona of a little goblin eating raw meat on the bus.
Perfectly at ease, Celya is shooting to the top but in, like, a cool, casual, French sort of way? Not like the other girls.
Celya AB: Swimming is at the Pleasance Courtyard, The Attic at 19:25 until 29th August. For tickets visit EdFringe.com.