Author and occasional stand-up
AL Kennedy: Present Tense
Note: This review is from 2007
Not wanting to judge by appearances, but a swift glance at the afternoon crowd in A L Kennedy’s show suggests they’re a literary bunch, inevitably intrigued by the prize winning novelist trying her hand at stand-up.
Unsurprisingly, one talent that certainly reveals itself is her skill with words; a lovely image is created from the allure of alcohol ads, the heady stages of smoking a joint (albeit tainted by the Scottish killjoy in her) are recreated humorously and there are frank tales of sexual awakenings in Dundee.
The title of the show Present Tense, she explains, refers not to a preferred use of tense in her narrative but her daily default setting of nervous tension. Her hour trips through the most stressful moments of her life from flying, visits to the dentist that result in numbness to the point of deformity and her ongoing pursuit of loose men and casual sex.
Her ideas and comedic notions are well thought-out, but there’s something about Kennedy’s delivery that doesn’t quite gel. She doesn’t make the most of her material, her timing is slightly off in places and she doesn’t always hit the punchline with the correct emphasis. That said, with a bit of work and more practice behind the mic she has the potential to become as fine a stand-up as she has become a writer.
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess
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