Scottish Daily Mail

Put this moving comedy at top of your must-see list

- By Alan Chadwick Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis Funny... and so much more ★★★★✩

WOW,’ someone standing next to me (not too close, of course), said after leaving Isabelle Farah’s comedy gig looking suitably stunned. ‘Well, I wasn’t expecting that.’ I know exactly what they mean.

Sure, I’d read the blurb about how the show would be exploring themes of grief, bereavemen­t and mental health. You know, the millennial woke checklist guaranteed to put bums on seats.

I fully expected it to be funny and entertaini­ng, what with the BritishLeb­anese comic, actor and writer’s past chops as a Funny Women prize finalist and semi-finalist at various competitio­ns.

And it was all of those things. But it was also much more.

I’d go so far as to suggest that if you had Farah’s one-woman show earmarked as part of a series of comedy gigs you hope to get round to this August, where one laugh is as good as the next for a night out, I’d urge you to rethink and put Ellipsis at the top.

If this isn’t Farah’s breakout show I’ll eat this review. Whether she’ll be able to come up with something as bare, honest and original again is a matter for the future.

As she says at the end of the hour, Ellipsis has been three years in the making. For now she should enjoy the plaudits that will come her way.

In essence, the show is both a confession­al and a tribute to how hard letting go of someone who dies is (in her case centred on a suicide).

It explores how it impacts you; how you cover up your grief; how you’re unable to cover it up, and where it leaves you as you try to go about your day-to-day life. In her case it was juggling working in an office with being a comic.

To demonstrat­e how she felt (and still feels about it), rather than roll all those thoughts into a neat little ball of observatio­nal gags, she opts instead for a show that is part standup, part storytelli­ng theatre, where she sets about deconstruc­ting what her routine could be like on various rungs of the comedy ladder.

This in turn is counterpoi­nted with real situations, the real her away from the mic, and her real feelings.

What could have come across as indulgent turns out instead to be very moving and very funny, and Farah’s loss is our gain.

Assembly Roxy today and tomorrow

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