STAND UP COMEDY
Edinburgh Fringe 2018: Ruth Cockburn - Love Letters from Blackpool @ Summerhall
Comedian and musician Ruth Cockburn presents this show about (as the title suggests) firstly, the nature of love and secondly, that most notorious of tacky, “kiss me quick hat” British seaside towns, Blackpool. It’s something of a creative mix-and-match, alternating between solo acoustic guitar songs, stand-up comedy routines, poetry, audio snippets of old Blackpool residents discussing their experiences of love through their lives, spoken word love letters and even the odd bit of trivia about the town (read out by four chosen members of the audience).
The amiably quirky Cockburn has enough personality to hold this disparate mix together commendably well. She also has a real knack for engaging with the audience throughout the show. The production design has a tangible air of nostalgia about it, effectively transporting us back in time to the kitschy heyday of British seaside vacations.
It’s a pleasantly affectionate show but ultimately a bit twee. I chuckled a few times, thought the songs were nice and found some of the trivia to be truly eye-opening (I didn’t realise the significance King Kong had to Blackpool). The contrasts between the town’s romanticised old heyday and its rather tawdry modern image of a run-down shithole given over to stag and hen parties also come across quite effectively in the humour. However, I didn’t quite take to the overall misty-eyed vibe.
Still, if you’re a hopeless romantic with a taste for seaside tat hailing from a bygone era, then this is the show for you. It’s as sweet as a stick of Blackpool rock.
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Tickets are available from the following link: