Edinburgh 2022: Review: CHARLIE RUSSELL AIMS TO PLEASE, Pleasance Below

Mischief Theatre’s Charlie Russell brings her solo show to Edinburgh!

By: Aug. 08, 2022
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Edinburgh 2022: Review: CHARLIE RUSSELL AIMS TO PLEASE, Pleasance Below
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The Play That Goes WrongThe Play That Goes WrongMischief Theatre have brought three shows to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, one of which is Charlie Russell's solo show, Charlie Russell Aims to Please, whereby Russell attempts to impress every single member of the audience in attendance at Pleasance Below.

The audience are warmly greeted by an eager Russell as they settle into their seats and, following a fun opening number, she outlines the premise of the hour to come: Russell will make every effort she can to please us, and we are to let her know when we have been satisfactorily made happy by her performance.

As you can imagine, this intimate show is very interactive so be prepared to share your interests (genuine and guilty pleasures!) and potentially help Russell out with some of the acts within the show - if you're not easily impressed, be ready to explain why!

The show is well-thought-out with clever cues, prompts and links to allow for lining up backing tracks and other items to help Russell please her audience. The crowd at this particular performance get to enjoy everything from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number to an improvised story about a cat called Connor who lives in Brighton. A simple curtain hides what must be a plethora of costumes and props which Russell uses to embody animals, Irish pop stars and more.

The show may initially seem on brand with Mischief's usual delightfully silly offerings, however this piece is probably most similar to their play Groan Ups, with a more serious message at the centre of the show.

Without spoiling the latter section, you come away having laughed and received some life lessons, particularly on our motivations behind wanting to be liked. It is unclear how much of the version of Russell portrayed in the show is based on truth, but the audience should be aware that the show includes mild language and adult themes if bringing children and teenagers along, given the show's 14+ age recommendation.

It's certainly worth considering whether performers should always be quite so vulnerable, sharing their own trauma on stage for the sake of their craft (and at the expense of their mental health!), particularly on a daily basis as part of the relentless Fringe regimen. This was this reviewer's only concern coming away from the show.

Part-party tricks, part-therapy, Charlie Russell Aims to Please really does have a big beating heart at the centre of the show, and whether you're new to Mischief Theatre's work or attending this show as part of the Mischief triple-bill at the Fringe, this show will (hopefully) entertain you and have you questioning whether the hoops we all jump through in life are worth it.

Charlie Russell Aims to Please at Pleasance Below until 27 August


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