Angel Of The North

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Hull's Marian Pashley may seem average, but this is a top-notch professional act whose casual ease hides a lot of hard work and natural talent.

First, the average. Her flyer says the show "explores popular myths and beliefs with the clarity of an objective outside eye". Cobblers.

There is nothing cutting edge or frontier-pushing about this show. It is about all the normal subjects for observational comedy: boyfriends, shopping, dieting and other people's children. And it is all seen from a typically, almost stereotypically, Northern viewpoint, though with a particularly effective line in sarcasm and cynicism.

As a child, Marian used to get Christmas presents from her granny but when she opened the wrapping, there was nothing inside. "Well," her granny would tell her: "That's what life's like."

It seems Marian Pashley would like to be a bluff, cynical Northern comic exposing the veiled cruelties of life but, in fact, she comes across as warm, homely and very British. Neither can she maintain the necessary stony face ­ she is more Victoria Wood than Les Dawson.

At the performance I saw, the lights had failed, leaving the audience more brightly lit than Marian, who was performing from a gloomy stage. It is a sign of her complete professionalism that, once she started speaking, none of this mattered because her material was so funny, her personality so strong and her fluent delivery so totally smooth and assured.

This is a top-notch comic with an effortless performance and immense potential. Her show got almost continual laughter, a very rare thing.

I also suspect there is an acting talent in there too ­ she appeared on Absolutely Fabulous to pronounce Patsy dead. And if she can write the very British, very accessible script she performs here, then she could surely also write a high-rating popular sitcom: something there has not been for ages.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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