Benet Catty Productions

Virginia Ironside Growing Old Disgracefully - Edinburgh 2012

Aug 21, 2012

Whatsonstage ***

Unless you are offended by the words "blow job" or "bottom" then there is nothing disgraceful to be found in this soothing hour with the long-standing agony aunt. "Is there anyone young here?" she asks at the beginning. It's a reasonable question, as she pitches her show entirely at the Freedom Pass generation, even if it's odd that being 68 (as she is) is assumed to be elderly. I think a few people would disagree with that.

More the kind of talk you might get at the Book Festival than on the Fringe, Ironside provides a gentle sprinkling of aphorisms along the lines of "Grandchildren are the reward we have for not killing our children" surrounded by observations about men going to the loo in the night and women forgetting names and so on. She frequently begins a new topic with "I don't know about you but..." and yet she clearly does know all about us. When she asks "has anyone here ever been on a cruise?" it seemed as if the entire audience murmured in the affirmative.

The final section about death, including some touching observations about the death of a friend, gives a hint of what we might have expected if she had allowed some of her own biography to be woven into the fabric of the show. That she rarely refers to the specifics of her own long life and career is a pity. Virginia Ironside is a lovely auntie and I, like clearly many others, would like to know her better.

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