Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review: How to Be a Lady


A Good Laugh by Tess Waters

Tessa Waters is very, very, very unladylike. In this show at least; she’s probably perfectly presentable in normal life. But here she gives a hilariously uninhibited performance that’s in-your-face from the get go. She arrives on stage in a drunken fag-sucking mess and proceeds to do all the things you usually regret the morning after. Which she then does, too, and remorsefully hunts down an old How to Be a Lady etiquette tape in order to correct her ways. Her interpretations of these instructions are just as lewd, involving all kinds of surprises that shouldn’t be mentioned here (in order not to spoil the surprise, not because I’m suddenly getting all prudish myself).

Waters has a fantastic charisma that carries the piece, along with her complete willingness to let it all hang out. The show’s under the Circus category but it could just as easily be in Comedy or Performance, since the only circus element is all of the clowning. And she makes a great clown; it’s rare to see a young performer putting that form front and centre rather than just acting as the warm-up or filler act between other kinds of circus.

The show has some points that lag in pace and I think it could be tightened up structurally; it’s certainly got enough memorable sequences to have you wincing in abject recognition, though, and finding something to laugh at in the most vulgar of behaviour.

Ends Saturday at the Lithuanian Club.

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