Lucy Porter: Live At The Underbelly

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

This isn't intended as a discussion about women in comedy, but the following exchange was overheard between two lads queuing for Lucy Porter's show. Lad one: "Is she a lesbian?" Lad two: "I hope not, she's cute."

It obviously reveals some Neanderthal attitudes that still exist towards female stand-ups, but mainly it's baffling. Cute is clear from the poster - which no doubt helped shift the tickets in the first place - but lesbian? In fact, if her material is to be believed, Porter's a bit of a slapper of the hetero kind.

That's the delight of her act: she looks so doe-eyed and innocent, yet her material reveals a cynical, barbed observer - sweet and sour in one dish.

Probably no one comes off worse from her analysis than herself, as she paints an unflattering picture of an insincere, unreliable, self-absorbed, unprincipled liar. But, aah, she's a poppet. We forgive her.

It's her mendacity that forms the basis for her show (and at least a couple of others on the Fringe - proving just how versatile lies can be). Although as a comic she is, by definition, a professional liar, she's decided to forgo her old, deceitful ways and start unflinchingly telling the truth in every situation.

She doesn't really push this premise of brutal honesty far enough, possibly because the Jim Carrey film Liar Liar has already been there, but the dangers of such a policy could be more thoroughly, and profitably explored. Instead, Porter concerns itself more with a self-help book she bought to help her be a better person.

Mocking the psychobabble advice is a much easier target, and Porter certainly doesn't miss - though less time regurgitating passages that build up to the punchlines would be welcome.

She also takes us through the consequences of following the book's tips - making lists of her strengths and failings, and keeping a diary of deceit, chronicling the lies she tells, as she tells them.

This is kept bounding along with her naturally engaging, slightly flirtatious, manner. She may be cynical, but she's also enthusiastic, and that counts for a lot. Honest.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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