Words by Helen Knott
Maisie Adam has only been a stand-up comedian for a year, but she has made more progress in those twelve months than many comedians manage in a much longer career. Her stand-out achievement so far was winning the So You Think You’re Funny competition at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; SYTYF is the UK’s most prestigious competition for new comedians, with past winners including David O’Doherty, Dylan Moran and Peter Kay.
Living on the Edge, then, is Adam’s first ever show. She explains that she only graduated from drama school last year and decided that she’s not ready to “adult” yet (I try to ignore my dislike of the modern use of the word ‘adult’ as a verb). The resulting show is a series of anecdotes from Adam’s fairly fledgling life experience so far – she’s only 23.
Some of these anecdotes are funnier than others. Her story about falling out of a second story window in an attempt to impress a one-night-stand is excellent, but her segment about the British abroad felt a little obvious and clichéd. Still, she keeps the energy up well, she’s likeable, and her patter with the audience is natural and funny.
And it was a tough crowd. Adam described it at the end as, “one of the weirdest gigs I’ve done”. It turns out that fifteen very sober people in The Glee Club at 5.30pm on a Saturday doesn’t make for the most energetic comedy audience. No doubt Adam will have much weirder gigs during her career, but tonight was quite a tricky situation. She largely managed it with confidence, though some punchlines felt a little thrown away in her speedy delivery.
Ultimately, the show would have benefited from a stronger overarching narrative and structure. Adam’s big theme was her claim to be dysfunctional, but that didn’t ring quite true. She just won one of the biggest comedy awards in the country and it seems like things are going pretty well to be honest. Plus most people are a bit awkward as children and have embarrassing romantic encounters; it’s normal stuff.
Living on the Edge is a solid first show, but to be in the same league as those past SYTYF winners Adam needs to work out her USP as a comedian. She can’t spend her whole career telling anecdotes about school teachers, her gap year, or the weird classes she took at drama school.
But Maisie Adam will continue to learn her trade, and her quick wit and charm will always make her great company – she could just do with some stronger material. Maybe some time “adulting” is in order after all.
For more on Maisie Adam, visit www.maisieadam.wixsite.com/comedy
For more from The Glee Club, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.glee.co.uk
For more on the Birmingham Comedy Festival 2017, visit www.bhamcomfest.co.uk