Fringe Review: Nan, me and Barbara Pravi

Jeremy Welch reviews Nan, me and Barbara Pravi at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

WHAT a wonderful way to spend an hour at the Fringe in the company of a very talented actress. Hannah Maxwell’s solo production is amusing, belly achingly funny at times, with a poignancy towards the end that leaves the audience sad for her.

Maxwell has taken on the role of carer for her widowed Nan, willingly, but at a cost.  Although very fond of her Nan, life for Maxwell is a little dull and her thoughts stray to life’s missed opportunities. To relieve the mundanity of microwaved porridge and daytime TV, Maxwell escapes into a fantasy world of seducing Eurovision French singer Barbara Pravi. It’s a love affair that inhabits her brain and is all consuming. To seduce her, Maxwell must learn fluent French, teach herself MI6 stealth methods to stalk her prey to gain access to a post-concert after party, and once there she will execute her seduction plan and consummate her love affair.

The planning of her seduction of Pravi is splendid stuff: amusing, delightful and with a truly wonderful lightness of touch as Maxwell gentle involves the audience in the narrative tale.

Towards the end of the performance, it’s clear that Nan is fine; it’s Maxwell that’s not. She is plagued by self-doubt, obsession, loneliness and grief.

The script is brilliantly written and Hannah Maxwell is stunning on stage. There is that old quote that some actors can fill a stage. Well, Maxwell could stand on the stage of the Old Vic and fill the stage with her presence, the auditorium too. She really is that good.

This is an outstanding production, beautiful, funny and sad.

Get tickets is my advice.  You won’t be disappointed I guarantee you.


Summerhall, Cairns Lecture, 17:15 – find out more about the show at

Read more reviews on Scottish Field’s Fringe pages.

Plus, don’t miss the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.