Though Rada-trailed, Lewin pursued a career away from the stage. But she turned to stand-up in 2003, with an act that includes charcters such as Madame Fifi and her puppet sidekick, Peregrine the penguin, and trumpet-playing.
She appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2010.
Persephone Lewin Videos
Persephone's Comedy Cabaret at the 2010 Brighton Fringe
Itís going to be quite hard to put into to words how execrably awful Peresphone Lewinís tediously unfunny show is; but weíll give it a go.
Sheís a petite, half-Greek lady of certain age who plays with toys like a child at a tea party, putting on silly voices and getting them to answer back. Thatís interspersed with odd films, bursts of trumpet-playing, odd accents, pseudo-burlesque dancing (in which she largely keeps her clothes on) and jokes older than Methusula.
How quirky, you might think. How delightful that an oddball can exhibit her individuality. How beautifully zany. No, no and no again, treble underlined. Nor does it pass the Ďso bad itís goodí threshold. Lewinís amateur lack of talent might get a few titters in a five-minute slot on a mixed bill, but in a full show itís just painful. Actually, not even painful, as that would suggest some sort of emotional response. She just gets on with her little conversations and your job is to stare blankly on, trying your darndest not to let your mind wander, even though thatís the only way to get through this self-indulgent piffle.
To be fair to her, this was always going to be a tough gig. There were more stage managers than audience which, when she started, numbered just me. Awkward. So even if, with a decent audience, she could build on the nervous laughs that her strangeness could elicit, it was never going to happen here. At its peak she got five in, but the group of three left after ten minutes or so. Her recent appearance on Britainís Got Talent has obviously done nothing for her fan base.
I started making notes about specific things that were wrong; how I winced at the French character being introduced by a burst of La Marseilles on accordion and the words Ďoh la laí, or the Australian getting Waltzing Matilda and a cork hat. But this is a show thatís beyond such point-by-point criticism. It would be like drowning in a vat of monkey spunk, and complaining about what colour they painted the vat.
The show has no atmosphere, and thatís not just down to the empty room. Her surrealism has no whimsy, while thereís no verve to make it whacky. Itís just a grown woman in her own little world, hosting a make-believe adventure with her toys Ė of which there must surely be a vanload, as one sketch alone gets through a dustbinful of props. She witters nonsensically some long-winded yarn about lifeboats, Vegas shows and a Cockney penguin. If a woman in the street was muttering such nonsense, you would cut her a very wide berth. All you can do here is think Ďwhat the fuck?!í time after time. This nonsense lasted 75 patience-sapping minutes. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but garbage is apparently inexhaustible.
At one point, the male stagehand wanders on in kimono and bright orange pigtails and mimes playing the trumpet for a minute or two. Then goes off again. And thatís a highlight. We get a sub-Benny-Hill-at-his-lowest film in which she falls over in some mud and gets sprayed clean with a hose; a long audio interlude where we listen to a conversation while looking at three wigged footballs on microphone stands, then towards the end she blows into a teapot, inflating a concealed rubber glove.
Lewinís own talent with the instrument is OK, though she hits quite a few duff notes. But then even Sachmo himself would probably have trouble playing with a stuffed penguin on his left hand. She is a fine player of the swanee whistle, thatís about the most praise I can find. That and her thick-skinned ability to persevere in the face of bewildered silence from the tiny audience, without any apparent shred of embarrassment. But Iím not sure that should be encouraged.
Persephone Lewin Dates
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