As if watching all of her doodles come to life, I sat there with wide eyes for the entirety of Jessie Cave: Sunrise, like a kid watching a puppet show. Though Jessie does often use puppets as props, this time she’s using pillows embroidered with the illustrated faces of her ex-boyfriends. Her mother made them.
Sunrise is Jessie Cave’s perspective of her break up with a certain curly-haired comedian. A lot has changed since their one-night stand that resulted in her pregnancy, their relationship, and the material for her 2015 Fringe show, I Loved Her.
Always self-deprecating and incomparably honest, 2015 Jessie was still the neurotic delight that she is now, but this Jessie's voice is stronger; she's much more daring, surer of herself. Many comedy shows will elicit a review that mentions ‘vulnerability', but Cave takes transparency to a whole new level.
Kooky, with a penchant for polka dots and her signature pigtail plaits, Jessie Cave exudes the playfulness of perhaps one of her young children, and this exterior makes it all the more arresting when she delivers devastating and hilariously shocking confessions with snappy, silly panache. It's like finding a razor in a candy apple.
I can’t speak for the artist, but, to be completely honest, Jessie might have perceived this particular performance as a tough day. The tech hiccupped; she stalled on a line. And then something happened. Jessie cried at a particularly poignant moment, and she didn’t mean to, and it broke my heart.
In all the Fringe shows I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen emotion on stage quite like this. I started crying; the girl next to me started crying. This isn’t just a beautifully written, hysterical show about a break up that's for the best, and how to deal when you have children. This is her real life.
Jessie may have shot to fame from her role as Lavender Brown in Harry Potter, but, in reality, she is a mother who sleeps with her children in, essentially, a giant pack ‘n’ play, a newly single woman confusedly navigating the Tinder-era, and an artist who carves her own career path using one-of-a-kind illustrations and her own brand of comedy.
People typically drop the word “oversharer” when it comes to Jessie Cave, but she’s refreshing, emotionally stunning, and much, much more interesting than any soundbite can sum up.
Aug 10-26 (not 13)