Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 17/08/2022

Elf Lyons: Raven – Edinburgh Fringe

Comedy is hard to do in any format especially horror comedy. Elf Lyon’s show Raven is a one-women siege on the entire genre, a bombastic and highly skilled affair that is completely fascinating throughout, and utterly bizarre.

Raven is a semi auto-biographical scream into the darkness, but with jokes.  Elf Lyons tells a tale of both modern and childhood fears, framed in such a way that it’s also an homage to the work of Stephen King. They are a great many references to the Master of Horror’s work throughout the show, so much so that even regular Starburst readers won’t catch every single one.

All of this is emphasised by Elf Lyon’s magnetic physical presence; The performer graduated from the École Philippe Gaulier (a world famous clown school) and studied Bouffon, a sort of inverted, dark version of the clown.  This skill, training and physicality forms a key part of the performance and the narrative. And yes, Stephen King’s IT gets referenced more than once.

It is very funny, very powerful and in places, utterly heart-wrenching.  They are also plenty of jokes at the expense of overly proud men, people who own tiny dogs and talk too much on the train, a certain ubiquitous Hollywood actor and the reality of simply getting older but not wiser. In places, it’s simply flat out weird; they are elements of Lyon’s performance that’ll you will either connect with or become immediately lost.

It gets messy at some points, in every sense of the word, but every element of this show is cleverly and thoughtfully considered.  Lyon’s physicality puts her in complete control throughout as she performs this seemingly unhinged and gloriously weird show. It’s quite frankly mesmerising.

This is a bold, ambitious show that clearly has required a lot of skill, time and effort to put together.  If you like horror and you like strange but funny shows, then you should seek this out.


Booking info can be found here.