chloe radcliffe edinburgh fringe

Chloe Radcliffe: Cheat review | Breaking taboos and making names

★★★☆☆ Monogamy and relationship ethics go under the microscope in Chloe Radcliffe's intriguing Edinburgh Fringe debut.


Monogamy and relationship ethics are under the microscope in Chloe Radcliffe’s intriguing Edinburgh Fringe debut.

American stand-up comic Chloe Radcliffe tells us, at the outset of a very personal hour, how she has cheated in all but one relationship she’s ever had.

In true Hannah Gadsby style, it’s an admission which tends to create a bit of tension – though one which seems to have come as a surprise to more of the audience than you’d expect when the billing says Cheat in big letters.

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It’s no small feat that an admission like that can lead into an hour of pretty engrossing stand-up. As annoying as it is to make generalised statements like ‘comedy is about breaking taboos,’ cheating is certainly a big old cultural taboo – and boy, does Radcliffe break it.

In a no-holds-barred show covering everything from fed-ex sex to the erotic allure of a good knee, Radcliffe brings a hefty dose of charm to a story which ranks among one of the more interesting stand-up narratives of this year’s Fringe.

As is the risk taken by putting the story centre-stage, Radcliffe sometimes struggles to juggle the tonal jumps between funny, outlandish tales and ‘the serious bits.’ The balance, particularly in the second half, feels slightly off, and the perfectly well-written one-liners aren’t always enough to completely diffuse the tension from the personal psychoanalysis dominating the last twenty minutes.

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Still, Cheat is an entertaining and engrossing hour on a refreshing topic to hear people discuss openly. As Radcliffe says in the show, cheating is a little bit like a drug – and Cheat similarly leaves you wanting more.

Chloe Radcliffe: Cheat runs from 4-27 August in The Pleasance Courtyard Bunker Three at 19:15. Check out the rest of our Edinburgh Festival Fringe coverage here.

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