Birdy was back at her favourite venue, the Underbelly Cowgate (which still no longer smells like dirty potatoes) – this time to see Charlie Vero-Martin’s Picnic!
I like picnics; I didn’t know if I liked Charlie Vero-Martin when I first agreed to come along and review the show, but I was told her comedy was funny if slightly on the weird side – and well, that was me sold.
Charlie Vero-Martin: Picnic is a show themed around a thing most Brits like to do – that is, have picnics! It’s an outdoor activity where we’re making the most of the weather, without committing to full-on camping – and, as Charlie points out, it’s about making memories. And this show is certainly memorable!
Charlie is mostly performing on her own, but she does have an assistant to aid her at various points in the show, before becoming part of the show herself.
In Charlie’s safe hands, we’re guided confidently through various different, often surreal characters and scenarios – there’s also a bit of audience participation (but not too much), and other surprises.
The vibe is surrealist, picnicky fun. Charlie herself is mostly in a dress that resembles the tablecloth of her picnic table – perhaps to embody the very essence of picnic itself; I wouldn’t be surprised.
Charlie’s comedy is friendly and approachable, and the audience quickly get on board with each scenario. Sometimes things are labelled as ‘FACT’ because that’s absolutely necessary.
On the night, one of the audience members has a laugh exactly like Gordon the Gopher, and Charlie enjoys this very much. So does everyone else. It’s the squeakiest laugh I’ve ever heard and even the most hardened of comedians would find that a struggle to ignore.
The show itself
I really enjoyed this energetic show – I’ll call it ‘chaotic good’ – as there’s plenty of variety in terms of the sketches and characters, and you go on a little bit of a learning journey with Charlie, especially at the start with her Swedish marine biologist character (Professor von Flipflop) who starts out by asking if anyone’s German. We learn about sea urchins and hermit grabs.
There’s also plenty of jokes, puppets and silly voices throughout. The Professor’s axolotl friend is particularly fun, and we learn it’s okay that he loses his limbs because they can be sewn back on before 18:55 the next day.
Other highlights of the show for me included Persephone and the Magic of Yoni (I laughed so much during this, it’s so unhinged and I really don’t want a yoni candle), SIMs in real life, the gatekeeper – which is a great bit of feminist observation and really works – and the cryptic crossword section (yes, there is a cryptic crossword section, and it’s very silly).
I wasn’t quite prepared for the show’s finale, but it was a great way to end. Go watch it!
This show was a really enjoyable, lighthearted picnic basket full of laughs. I love anything a little bit weird, so this ticked all the boxes for me, and I’d definitely go and see Charlie Vero-Martin again.