A former BBC reporter who specialised in interviews with comedians, Julia Sutherland turns the tables on herself for this year’s Fringe with Exposed, a part comedic, part personal interview with herself. Into the hands of a sort-of-willing audience member she thrusts a sheet of questions for them to read and for her to answer.
The result is a mixed bag of genuine laughs and somewhat awkward silences, but you can’t fault her for trying.
She begins with some light observations about Glasgow, her home city, but this isn’t anything we haven’t heard before. Sutherland hits her stride more when she delves into the more personal stuff. From her inability to stick to a school or a degree, to her divorce and life as a co-parent, to her “inappropriate” dress sense we are treated to a whistle-stop tour of what makes Julia Sutherland so, well, so Julia Sutherland. Among the show’s highlights are her disastrous attempt to look at the comments on a comedy Mother’s Day video she made whilst working for the BBC – no woman wants to be told of her resemblance to Michael Jackson – and an Ann Summers shopping trip with her young son in tow. You will laugh and wince all at once at some of the stories she has to tell.
Things get a tad cringy when the ‘interviewer’ switches from an audience member to Sutherland herself on a television screen and the harsher questions arise. Yet still, it takes guts to open up and laugh about the parts of yourself that you’re not so fond of in front of a roomful of strangers. Sutherland is, at the very least, a bold performer.
What begins a little predictably evolves into a more enlightening experience of the woman who was so often behind the interviewer mic. Despite feeling slightly clunky at points, Exposed makes for an enjoyable hour’s comedy. Go on and support her, her salary hasn’t been the same since she left the BBC.
Julia Sutherland: Exposed, Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug, 1.30pm