Juliette Burton bounces onto the stage in a sparkling whirlwind of fuchsia pink, sequins and glitter.
She arrives at The Lowry following a run at Edinburgh Fringe with her latest show, Butterfly Effect, about how everyone benefits when we’re kinder to ourselves and others.
Loosely based on chaos theory of how a small butterfly flapping its wings could give rise to a tornado somewhere else, Juliette takes this idea and applies it to kindness; exploring how a small act of kindness can have huge effects we may never see or imagine.
For her this small act was a stranger offering a tissue as she sobbed and ‘snotted’ in a London train station.
Indeed, Juliette’s own journey to kindness is a chaotic one, delivered in a high-speed and frantic way. It’s a confessional style show and as with any self-depreciating comedy who knows exactly how much is really true. It’s entertaining nevertheless, and Juliette plays the vulnerable tears of a clown very well – almost like a female Johnny Vegas, ranting while downing half a bottle of rosé on stage.
Towards the end, the show becomes gentler and there are some heart-lifting moments when she shows films of her complimenting strangers.
On paper, neither mental health nor kindness seem suitable topics for comedy. But Juliette wraps them in humour and sparkle to make you laugh and care at the same time.
Before the show starts she picks the brains of her audience for ways we can all be a little bit kinder. And on leaving, audience members are encouraged to take an idea from a previous audience to do as a kindness dare.
My dare comes from Danny in Oxford – to take a lonely person out for a meal (your parent?). Given the bashing her parents take during the show, I throw back the challenge.
★ ★ ★★
Read our interview with Juliette where she talks mental health, chaos theory and spreading a Mexican wave of kindness across the country.