Ray Bradshaw’s show is the first of its kind. A standup set which combines dry Scottish humour with British Sign Language (BSL), and educates the audience about not only individual signs, but about the experience of growing up with deaf parents. However, the show is not in any way reserved for those who know BSL, making it one of the most accessible shows in the Festival Fringe.
The show is split into three sections; the first, in which Bradshaw signs along to a pre-recorded voiceover, is interesting but doesn’t take into account audience reaction. The timing is a little off, leaving gaps too long or too short between jokes, and as such the show has a slow burn of a beginning. He does however have a natural ability to get the audience on side, quickly explaining the format of the show as well as the importance of a show not interpreted, but performed in sign language.
Bradshaw moves on to discuss his parents and siblings, the physicality of sign language adding an additional layer of humour to these stories. Using a signing film in the second section, Bradshaw improves vastly as he is able to interact with the audience. His humour isn’t laugh out loud, but he’s a funny guy teaching something different. This is especially true of the third section, where he signs alongside his comedy. The show comes into its own at the end, as Bradshaw no longer has to worry about the timing of a film or voice-over, and so comes across as much more natural and comfortable on stage.
It is clear that Bradshaw’s show is a brand new concept in its infancy, but it’s worth going to if you’re looking for something different, and it’s definitely worth supporting such an important new medium for comedy.
Words: Catriona Davidson
Ray Bradshaw: Deaf Comedy Fam, Gilded Balloon Balcony, Aug 6-28 (not 14), 4.00pm