Annette Fagon – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Livewire Annette Fagon has bags of appealing confidence and a natural energy that doesn’t really need all her chivvying of the audience to ‘give me some noise’ to win people over.

‘I don’t tell jokes,’ she admits. ‘I just like a bitch and a moan.’ That she does, to a degree, but it’s not her strength. That lies in the evocative childhood nostalgia that triggers hoots of recognition in the crowd, from recreating the way she’d pose with a towel draped over her head to emulate glamorous Dynasty-style coiffures to the beatings her parents used to dole out. With this sort of retro observational comedy, she’s just like Peter Kay would be – well, if he were female, black and from Leicester.

She shares many of his strengths and weaknesses too. Audiences like her because she’s comes across as being just the same as them but writ large; while on the downside she’s not ashamed to use near-generic material – that beating routine, for instance, is close to other comic’s routines – nor to employ every ruse in the book, from props to silly clothes or gyrating to Beyonce blasting over the PA. Purists will hate such trickery, but you can’t deny it works.

There are hints, too, that she might want to take her material in different directions. One segment, for instance, starts with an encounter with a black Muslim on a bus. But before it gets anywhere near political this routine jolts – unlikely as this may sound – into another nostalgia bit about My Little Pony. This is either evidence of a preamble that needs editing, or a desire to talk about more important things than what we got up to in the Seventies and Eighties.

Still, Fagon’s still relatively new to the game (the path to her 2004 debut formed the a ten-minute documentary Anonymous Humorous, available on her MySpace page) and she has found her performing feet remarkably quickly, commanding a room with ease. That’s easily enough to get by – but the suspicion is she has an even better act within her, ready to come out if she challenges herself more to play outside her comfort zone, safe in the knowledge she’ll probably be able to get any crowd on side.

Review date: 14 Nov 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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