Isy Suttie: The Suttie Show

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

With her newfound cult fame, earned from playing unlikely love interest Dobby in Peep Show, the beguiling Isy Suttie returns to the Fringe with a show about how childhood dreams get lost into adulthood.

It is a suitably sweet topic for this uniquely charming performer, but by fragmenting the hour into a series of character pieces of varying interest, rather than following a single narrative as her touching and assured debut did last year, the show dissipates a lot of its potential magic.

As a showcase of her musical skills and versatility with accents, it works fine; but the other personas too often dilute Suttie’s main appeal: her innate, quirky likeability.

The haughty Yvonne Winehouse is typical: she’s a well-drawn, three-dimensional creation, but deliberately humourless, which is something of a drawback for a comedy character. She’s Amy’s cousin, but a world apart: a haughty, Daily Mail-reading middle Englander who fears the strangers who occasionally wander into her village. She sings an overlong health and safety song warning of the dangers of fire, which is just a bit too amateurish even though that was the intention. However the tune voicing her irrational fears of paedophiles is spot-on.

Then there’s Melody, the forgettable Scouse hairdresser and frustrated singer-songwriter, and the more engaging Ben, the nervous, untalented but determined 12-year old who’s already a serial reject from Britain’s Got Talent. That Suttie can switch convincingly from a pre-teen wannabe to husky-voiced Louisiana jazz singer Mr Mississippi, by inference an elderly black man, certainly shows her range.

Interwoven with this mixed bag of characters are more delightful stories from Isy’s own childhood, when she had dreams of becoming a princess, albino or soldier. She also wrote desperate love songs for schoolgirl crushes and tried her hand at sub-Mills-and-Boon romantic fiction, embarrassing examples of which she’s unashamed to share for our entertainment.

The show would probably benefit from exploring her own childish innocence more, rather than using it as a contrivance to link other characters. The result is still appealing, but also disappointing, given her undeniable promise.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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