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Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘welcome fringe pick-me-up’

Anna Freeman and Chris Redmond in Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. Photo: Steph Dray Anna Freeman and Chris Redmond in Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. Photo: Steph Dray

Chris Redmond’s Tongue Fu is one of the coolest spoken-word nights around, an energetic mixture of poetry, storytelling and song. Along with Book Slam and Homework, it’s one of the most enjoyable nights on the live literature scene. Animal (Are You a Proper Person?) is a prime example of this. It’s lively and literary and fun.

Redmond and poet and performer Anna Freeman encourage their audience to channel their spirit animals, to whoop and hoot and roar. We all have an animal inside us, they say.

This fairly slender premise is the hook on which they hang an entertaining hour in which a teenage Chris discovers his inner pig with the help of his drum teacher, and Anna learns to appreciate her inner flamingo (though her adolescent self would rather have been Sarah Connor). Chris discusses how becoming a dad has impacted on his life; Anna describes her first awkward experience of a book industry party. The show is full of stories and songs told with wit and an easy rapport with the audience.

Both Redmond and Freeman are affable and appealing hosts, funny, self-deprecating and warm. They don silly wigs. They get everyone on side. They’re having fun and so are we. This might not be the most earth-shaking show around, but it’s upbeat and warm and has a couple of big-grin moments, making for a welcome fringe pick-me-up.

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Energetic, entertaining hour of poetry, storytelling and song