Harriet Kemsley is a vegetarian who is allergic to raw fruit, raw vegetables and all nuts. She also has dyspraxia, the physical cousin to dyslexia: in her own words, she can read a book, she’ll just drop it on her foot afterwards. If all of this doesn’t have the makings of a priceless comedy show, I don’t know what does. You can be as talented as you like but if you don’t have the material then you don’t have a show worth seeing – and Kemsley certainly has the material. Taking her title from the technical definition of her dyspraxia, which literally means ‘bad at doing’, Kemsley relentlessly pelts the audience with her particular brand of self-deprecating humour.
Her delivery is worthy of the material she produces, and she possesses excellent comic timing and an intuitive ability to interact with the crowd. Kemsley is effervescent, her excitement is infectious and not once is there a silence or lull in the laughter. She is clearly a comedian who knows what she’s doing on the stage – even if her jokes suggest she doesn’t know what she’s doing in life.
Refreshingly witty, Kemsley is one of the better comedians I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this Fringe. Bad at Doing is a must-see for anyone looking for a good time and some easy, light-hearted laughs. And do make sure to stay right to the end – the final moment really makes the show.
Words: Emily Hay
Harriet Kemsley: Bad at Doing, Just the Tonic @ The Caves, Aug 3-27 (not 14), 9pm