AS FAR as Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows go, there won’t be many comedians that have to deal with a guide dog being hit on the head by a fiddle midway through her set, writes Alan Donald.
But Shetlander Marjolein Robertson handles it with the professionalism of a comedian with many years experience below her belt – by cutting a deal to pet the dog at the end of the show.
Marjolein touts herself as “the UK’s second most Northerly comedian” which ticked a number of boxes for this exiled reviewer…the main one being having never seen a Shetland-based comedian performing at the festival which, for the month of August, takes over the city he calls home.
Marjolein’s stage manner during Friday’s performance doesn’t give the impression of a comedian with a script – it’s more of a Sheltie with a few folk in aboot fir a spik. The majority of her set comes from her life in Shetland – whether it comes from the remoteness of cat-sitting in the north of the mainland, to the false positives that Norwegian sail training ships may give the female Tinder users in Shetland.
Whilst those with no Shetland connections may take a while to get into Marjolein’s show, those of us with Shetland connections were immediately drawn in by her beautiful Shetland tones, and were able to laugh along with her as she attempted to teach the audience the intricacies of the Shetland phrase “baggin’ off” and her proposals of combining the Jimmy Perez crime drama ‘Shetland’ and the more mundane ‘Island Parish’ TV shows – both of which exhibited Shetland in the early part of the year on BBC1 and BBC2.
Marjolein is performing as part of the PBH Free Fringe in the Back Room in Opium – venue 96 – at 5.30pm until Tuesday (16 August). The PBH Free Fringe provides the opportunity for performers to avoid the expense of hire charges and ticket prices for the venue – if audience members like the show they put a voluntary donation in the bucket at the end of the show.
Marjolein’s performance, with the confidence of someone way beyond her years, shows her capability of moving on from the Free Fringe to a much bigger festival audience.
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