FRINGE REVIEW – Sandi Toksvig- My Valentine

*****

By A MacDonald

What better way to spend an afternoon than with the wonderful Sandi Toksvig? A novelist, broadcaster, actor and comedian to name but a few of her talents; Sandi has many strings to her bow. A veteran of the fringe, she first appeared here 34 years ago. A wonderful balance of witty jokes, interesting facts and fascinating stories from her life, this show is the perfect uplifting tonic for the late afternoon post lunch stupor.

The show opens with Sandi bounding onto the stage to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. She informs the audience that she gears up for her performance by pretending to conduct the aforementioned stage entry music and that her goal is for everyone to leave feeling better than when they came in. Sandi goes on to tell tales of her early life growing up in New York and then attending boarding school in England; how she followed her parents into the ‘Family Business’ of working for the BBC and how she has recently become a British citizen. She accompanies these stories with a series of family photographs that bring the tales to life. She engages the audience further by showing pictures of bizarre and hilarious books she has found, and teaching a Danish phrase. The phrase is nonsense but this just adds to the upbeat mood of the room. She tempers the fun and laughter with more sombre subjects, asking why there are so few women in comedy and discussing her friend of many years, John McCarthy, who spent 5 year being held hostage in Beirut. She links this back to the positive, describing their subsequent sailing trip together round the British Isles and the hilarity that ensued.

Sandi more than achieves her goal to get the audience to leave feeling better than when they came in, imploring us to grab life by the throat. As a finale we all join in conducting Ode to Joy. There is a palpable optimistic mood amongst the audience as they file out. A supremely uplifting show, this is perfect for anyone seeking an intellectual mood boost.

On at Pleasance Grand until 11 August 16:00 (17:00)

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