Thanyia Moore review – can a comedy show just laugh? | Edinburgh Festival 2022
BBack in 2020, Thanyia Moore was planning her fringe debut with a show about her bullying past. By the time Covid let her back on stage, she had given up on the idea and came to Edinburgh instead with Just Being Funny, which aspires to – well, I think you can guess. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But if you don’t do theme, storytelling, or structure, but just rely on funny, you better be really, really funny.
Moore can be (she’s a former Funny Women Award winner, after all) and is here. But not enough to compensate for the arbitrary content of the show. OK, so there’s a token effort to tie it all together by asking (and nothing could be more generic for a full first show) “who is Thanyia Moore?” In response, the South Londoner takes us on a tour of her life, from growing up on a so-called ghetto estate in New Cross, to her experience winning the world hip-dancing championship. hop 2005, to a recent parachute jump for a panel on Dave. Random? Indeed, it is. That last section in particular feels like filler, partly because it shares it twice: once in stand-up, once as a screened segment of the TV show in question.
It’s a bit cheeky, in a set that lasts well under 50 minutes. But if you don’t get quantity, there certainly is quality, especially when it comes to Moore’s acting abilities. It’s a fantastically imposing comic, with fine crowd skills and the gift of an infectious laugh. There’s real warmth to the opening section, which introduces us to her sensible mother and, along with the story behind the unusual spelling of her name, her ineffectual father.
The street dance setting at the heart of the show is also strong – so much so, and the experience it recounts is so remarkable (filled with more video footage), I wish it had built the show around from him. Instead, we get this loose mix: still enjoyable, as Moore is a larger-than-life host, but – ironically for a dancer – a bit uncoordinated.