Julie Burchill: Absolute Cult (Edinburgh Fringe)

The queen of spleen tells all in this solo satire starring Lizzie Roper

All the components are in place for a blinder of a solo show: the queen of spleen herself brought to slatternly, vodka-fuelled life by ace satirist Lizzie Roper in a script by Tim Fountain (who did his first Julie Burchill show ten years ago) directed by Mike Bradwell.

Instead, we have an hour’s worth of biographical notes and anecdotes that never quite coheres into the tragi-comedy of Burchill’s life and career; that’s how she sees it, anyway, as the West Country girl who escaped the biscuit factory and the claws of domesticity.

But here she is, aged 55, just back from Tenerife, ordering up some drugs before lurching out to lunch in Nando’s dressed like the Queen of Sheba. Even worse, to pay her back tax, she might have to go on Celebrity Big Brother with Esther Rantzen and the Chuckle Brothers.

It’s not an edifying sight, nor would Julie want it to be. She boasts of all the highs and celebrates the lows: "You don’t know true embarrassment until you’ve been sacked by Punch."

And yet… do we care? The pillars of her existence are, she says, hedonism and Judaism (there’s an Israeli flag on her sofa); she knows her stuff, reveres John Updike. But she uses a copy of Kenneth Tynan’s diaries to line her cat litter. Not so clever after all, then.

Julie Burchill: Absolute Cult runs at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until 25 August