Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019: Look Up

Ruth Cockburn explained from the beginning why her show at the Beehive Inn was called LOOK UP.  “It is an attempt to get everyone to stop looking at their phones, to look around them what’s going on.”

She then evidenced how she had personally benefitted from this advice, talking lovingly about scenes she had witnessed as a child growing up in Blackpool, contrasting this with witnessing her young family of today, with their heads glued downwards in the direction of their phone screen.

Ruth brought her show to life with some jauntily performed songs about relationships and created a very visual window on her observations of family and love as a child and teenager in a working-class Northern England town.  The songs were dispersed through the performance with some beautifully observed poetry and engaging anecdotes describing the mix of adolescent female, with all the baggage that carries around, a tough living environment, and the strong characters whose advice, particular in the areas of love and sex, were funny yet believable.

There were nods to some of the great Northern comic icons throughout this show whose influence and charisma shone through:  George Formby, Les Dawson, Victoria Wood, even a young Morrissey when he was still witty and charming – There is a special strand of northern English humour that gently overcomes the barriers facing that particular part of the world and says ‘life may not be perfect, it may be cold and horrible outside, we’ve got no money and not many prospects but we are going to tell the story of our heritage, our people, our proud past and it will resonate and it will be funny’.

Additionally, if you were a child of the nineties there are some trips down memory lane that had certain audience members murmuring with agreement.

This show was a real hidden gem of the Fringe and I was delighted I had the opportunity to discover it.

Steve Heald