Deborah Frances-White

Abigoliah Schamaun: Namaste, Bitches

06/08/17

Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh

Abigoliah Schamaun is as bold and unusual as her name. In fact, her moniker is one of the reasons we’re here (it’s memorable; we saw it on posters last year but didn’t have time to see her show); the other reason is Global Pillage, the remarkable Deborah Frances-White’s “diversity-based panel show.” The episode featuring Ms Schamaun was a stand-out, and made me want to see more of her output.

Namaste, Bitches reveals Abigoliah to be a hot mess of contradictions: she’s a fitness freak who drinks and smokes; a tattooed shave-head who loves Hello Dolly. And she’s unexpectedly sweet and appealing too. It’s a genuinely quirky, unpredictable hour, with delightfully warm and natural audience interaction. Philip and I are even called upon to learn some Bikram yoga, which definitely makes us look silly, but we’re not the butt of the joke; it’s a friendly kind of show. We laugh throughout, and leave with big smiles on our faces, feeling good about ourselves and the evening we have had.

She might be losing her voice, but Abigoliah has a lot to say – and it’s definitely worth listening to.

4.2 stars

Susan Singfield

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The Guilty Feminist with Sofie Hagen and Deborah Frances-White

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22/08/16

Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh

The Guilty Feminist is one of my favourite podcasts, and I enjoy being a member of the associated Facebook group, so I was very excited by the opportunity to see a live recording of the show.

Let’s be honest, though, a live recording of something that’s intended for another medium is rarely going to be a five star experience (sorry, Sofie! the podcast itself definitely merits the top rating, but the live show doesn’t… not quite). But this one certainly comes close.

The venue is packed out; the podcast’s popularity shows how well it chimes with the zeitgeist, and how appealing its non-preachy, inclusive approach to feminism is. And today’s topic, independence, is an interesting one, with special guest Mary Lynn Rajskub contributing some fascinating insights into a comic’s transient life.

In truth, all three women seem a little fringe-frazzled (Sofie complains of a hangover; Deborah, we learn, went to bed at 6am), but that’s only to be expected at this stage of an Edinburgh run. And the podcast is none the worse for it; their honest appraisals of how they feel and where they’re at are, in fact, what makes the programme so compelling. I’d like to hear more about Sofie’s mother and her “men leave; you have to learn to do it for yourself” philosophy, but there’s plenty here to hold my attention, and it’s as funny, challenging, emotional and demanding as regular listeners will have come to expect.

I wish I had the time to attend further recordings this week. I don’t. But I’m glad I’ve seen this one.

4.2 stars

Susan Singfield