by Laura Ferguson
I am excited by McKerlie’s the bending of normalities such as gender and sexuality becomes a theme throughout the show. She enters strumming to the definitive ukelele song, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and just as I begin to believe we’re going to be treading over paths so many others have already taken, McKerlie casually swings into “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus. The ukulele standard metamorphosing into a new entity, the standard turning into a stand-out.
McKerlie’s delightful original songs are my favourite parts of her show. Her charm-filled strumming gives us cheeky and warming tales from her life. McKerlie’s charisma fills the space and I can’t help but smile endearingly at her as she sheepishly admits this next song, “Kayla” is one of the first she wrote, “So please excuse all the G and E chords” she implores us. “Kayla” is a song about a girl she had a crush on before she properly knew she was gay. The pleasing melody has us singing along to the chorus, giggles erupting in places from the simplistic repetition that allowed us to learn the song so quickly.
McKerlie’s anecdotes follow a similar pattern, they aren’t monumental tales of adventure or heartbreak, but they are imbued with the ever-amusing quality of truthfulness. Her stories are real, she does not seem to embellish or indulge in exaggeration. This is especially true when she relates to us the time she helped a friend do a gig in Brighton, so much going wrong that even now McKerlie’s face is slightly slack-jawed and stricken. The retained, ‘How did this happen to me?!’ air of the story making me laugh even harder.
McKerlie ends the show with beautiful ballad to a lover. It is adoring and tender, the slower beats of the song sprinkling us with heartfelt affection. It was a wonderful ending and just like the rest of McKerlie’s show, had an openness of feeling that was inspiring. Go To Bed, Jessica! is like the sleepovers I used to have with my best girlfriends, the four walls of Gryphon Theatre becoming the safe haven those duvets and pillows provided. Just like those giggling nights, McKerlie talks to us about sweet nothings and bolder everythings. Just how a sleepover should be and you don't want to go to bed at all.
You can catch shows at the Fringe here.