Georgie Morrell went blind in her left eye at 15. She went totally blind for a year but now has vision back in one eye. But The Morrell High Ground, her second full-length show, isn’t really about that. It’s about how she was a bit of a brat growing up and how important public services are, in a climate where healthcare and benefits are consistently being cut until there may be nothing left.

She is back in Edinburgh with a reprise of her first show too – A Poke In The Eye is about the year that she was forced to cope without any sight at all. Moorfields Eye Hospital; several surgeons and doctors; a supportive family that she pushes away as she descends into depression. This show has more gravitas that its successor, it requires Morrell to come to terms with and then communicate a sudden, severe disability.

Morrell is a natural comedian and performer – these are, after all, two show all about her. She is confident and sarcastic, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. It’s warming, relaxing and immediately means that she can engage the audience in more than simply a lecture about her life. Because sometimes it feels too much like a lecture – she even has slideshows.

The beautiful David Gandy makes several appearances – it’s only expected that he’s trying to get into Morrell’s pants. Once or twice is an unexpected piece of hilarity; by the end it starts to wear out as a joke. But both shows have pace and comfortable patter. They stray into panto once or twice, all tongue in cheek and self-deprecating. It’s imperfect and that’s the point; perfection is ultimately not that funny.

The surprise delights of the show are Mummy and Daddy Morrell, who cut into with audio clips to make sure that Morrell doesn’t skew the events to favour her. They are cutting as only parents can be, but there’s obviously a close bond between the three of them here. Understandable, given such a difficult childhood mired with health problems. Family is clearly a source of strength for Morrell as well as a source of a fair few gags.

Morrell doesn’t pussyfoot around her disability – to the contrary she uses it as her commodity. Why not? Morrell aptly highlights the uneasiness we have as society to talk about disability, constantly in fear of saying something wrong or not understanding the realities. An eye chart of potential anecdotes subtly pokes fun at her impaired vision, but it’s ok because the stories are self-deprecating in typical Morrell style. They’re also not entirely based around her disability and as such are even more relatable. She gets drunk, eats questionable kebabs and gets terrorised by her brother. These are shows that go balls to the wall with affable, comedic flair.

The Morrell High Ground, despite its title, is not a preaching sermon. It touches on issues that we are having with public funding cuts – Morrell can bring these out more without sounding too supercilious. It has extra impact because it’s personal and because Morrell is personable, exemplified by A Poke In The Eye, which shrugs its shoulders as much as the rest of us when asked how to deal with disability. Shit happens. Deal with it.

 

★★★☆☆

The Morrell High Ground plays Underbelly Med Quad, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 28 August 2017.

A Poke In The Eye plays The Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 28 August 2017.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Follow the link to an interview with comedian Georgie Morrell.