Sweetly bonkers, Joanna Neary’s theatrical shows fuse brilliant character- based comedy with accurate mimicry, flights of fancy and endlessly inventive writing. The erstwhile star of underrated sitcom Ideal (she played a necrophiliac, naturally, called Judith living next door to Johnny Vegas’ drug dealer character Moz) has created bizarre scenarios, including Bjork as an imaginary friend, Celia Johnson as you have never seen her before and a jazz song about extended metaphors. Banal and observational, she ain’t.
Influenced by art, absurdist Russian literature and noisy post-hardcore bands from the 90s (what’s not to like?) the surreal and unexpected informs her work. Her expressive face can emulate a variety of genres, eras and moods, and she’s always warm and playful, even when dealing within darker hues of comedy. The new show for the Edinburgh Festival, Joanna Neary Does Animals and Men focuses on “art education, pop culture and class”, while skewering the general public’s appetite for talent shows with her Opportunity Knockers. Truly, the mind doth boggle.
August 16th-28th Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh, 2.30 pm