Josie Long – Romance and Adventure

Posted on November 9, 2012


Having only ever heard snippets of Josie Long ‘doing funnies’ on the Saturday morning 6music show with Andrew Collins, going to see her perform at Soho Theatre this week was a bit of a gamble. However I surmised a three times Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee was bound to bring a few chuckles.

I was wrong. She brought an entire HGV articulated lorry-load of chuckles and I should have brought some spare pants.

As explained at the beginning of the show, Romance and Adventure is somewhat misleading, as in actual fact the next 90 minutes would be mostly about ‘what to do when you’re in the pits of despair’ – something that most people can relate to. We’re invited into Long’s bleak post-breakup world, where she finds herself living alone in Dalston and struggling to retain a sense of self, surrounded by teen hipsters and cool French lesbians.

The 2010 election was something of a political awakening for her but after months of impassioned activism and involvement with UK Uncut, she’s running out of steam and limping into her thirties in the midst of a bit of an identity crisis. An unbridled hatred for the Tories and what our current government is doing to the UK simmers at the heart of the performance, as well as some anxiety over conflicting beliefs and actions. Long rustles up a few laughs while questioning the dichotomy of being a voice for the impoverished and marginalised while also being on the receiving end of crates of champagne and caviar. She also paints a wonderful picture of what it’s like to perform for ‘ski cunts’.

Although a show saturated with serious political meaning, Long manages to nimbly leap between quite sombre, poignant moments and hilarious, overexcited tirades that see her swearing like a sailor that’s trapped his genitals in a door.

My favourite point in the evening involved a side-splitting impression of ‘Ed Fucking Miliband’ – a utopian, gangster version of the leader of the opposition, who claims back the NHS and destroys private schools in a fiery, socialist rampage. It’s quirky, hysterical comedic genius. The sixth show in Josie Long’s repertoire may mark a chapter of disillusionment and confusion, but her relentless zest for life and ability to radiate joy and mirth clearly aren’t going anywhere.

The Metro says that it’s not her best performance. I wouldn’t know as this was my first foray into Josie Long stand-up, but if my giggling-induced sore stomach muscles are anything to go by, I wouldn’t be able to cope with anything funnier.