Lucy Beaumont

Lucy Beaumont

From Hull, Lucy Beaumont was nominated for best newcomer at the 2014 Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards, two years after winning the BBC New Comedy Award.
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Lucy Beaumont: We Can Twerk It Out

Review by Steve Bennett

If Lucy Beaumont didn’t exist, Caroline Aherne would have to invent her. A dizzy, naive, sweet-but-bewildered girl making witty, non-judgemental observations about the strange working-class culture of her native Hull, she is a distinctive comic voice.

The flattened vowels add to the sense that she’s from a strange, alternative place, a northern Narnia full of exotic creatures and high adventure. Beaumont gets under the stereotype of her home town as a down-at-heel neo-Dickensian place full of benefit scroungers, teenage mums and obesity, and instead celebrates the people and the quirks of this East Yorkshire outpost. It’s a salt-of-the-earth, ordinary-on-its-terms place where she fits in; certainly compared to chichi Surrey, where this wide-eyed ingenue now lives.

This celebratory nature extends to the stage dressing: a sign proclaiming that we are at the Walton Street Working Men’s Club and a spangly tinsel backdrop, the perfect illustration of something designed to be classy, glamorous and showbizzy – but actually pretty tacky in the wider world.

Her universe cries out to be a sitcom, with its peculiar characters and strong sense of place – and indeed she’s working on a pilot with BBC radio. Even a flyer for a pizza place can be made to seem quintessentially Hull once keen-eyed Beaumont point out the relevant components. She does, indeed have an instinct for detail. That a friend works in an burger bar is one thing, that it’s ‘in the ice arena’ makes the imagery more delightful.

She has a instinct, too, for timing, as evidenced in her peculiar way of chatting very briefly to a few male audience members, writing their names on a tiny whiteboard with no explanation. The same offbeat rhythm applies to almost every joke, which leads to a slightly monotonous pace, but can still surprise, such as the bitter wedding speech she delivers.

For all Beaumont has going for her, We Can Twerk It Out – a terrible title, clumsily grasping an an already dying zeitgeist because of one Miley Cyrus joke – is something of a stretch. There’s not much change of texture or tone in the 50 minutes, with a struggle to offer variations on cutely quirky observations of her home-town eccentrics delivered with the same delicate mix of casual incredulity and disarming matter-of-factness.

An attempt to weave this into a story of a ribald hen night in Blackpool doesn’t quite come off, and treads on territory well-covered in stand-up; while the set-piece finale, tying up a story about her pal Jacqui’s inability to find a boyfriend, seems to exist only because it’s the sort of thing that expected to tie up an Edinburgh show; it’s not particularly organic at all.

Still, less than two short years after winning the BBC New Comedy Award, the irresistibly endearing Beaumont is consolidating her potential as an exciting, natural new talent with a promising future.

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Published: 4 Aug 2014

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