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Janey Godley: Godley's World - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Chloe Smith

Janey Godley ushers the audience to their seats herself, creating a persona for each as they arrive. There are chuckles over Tam’s aversion to plaid and Betty’s shoplifting habits, and a cheery tea party atmosphere to be going on with. Everyone is immediately glad to be in the room with her.

But when the show starts it all begins to crumble. A long story about bus a bus journey in Los Angeles is studded with eccentric characters and brought to the stage with empathy and humour, but the actual gags are so sparse that it never quite takes off. It is periodically amusing rather than funny and something of a letdown after the jovial overtures. It’s a story that might go down better in a busier room, but falls flat in this quiet one.

The show hinges loosely on Godley’s inner dialogue and the effects it has when that voice escapes out into the real world. She describes encounters with Christians in Nottingham she successfully offended, the Irish community in New York who didn’t take kindly to a joke about balaclavas.

There is some good stuff here, but much of it gets lost in a dearth of timing. Not even the mental image of Godley washing out her smalls in the confines of an aeroplane loo catches the audience.

Godley is funny when she talks about her husband, or an ill-fated journey from Pitlochry to her stepmother’s deathbed in the depth of snowy winter. Towards the end, the laughs pick up some pace; her observations of the monosyllabic Scottish approach to the service industry are deliciously accurate.

She is a likeable stage presence, a charming host , but the whole suffers from the badly-constructed beginning, especially the rambling LA story that lets her down.

Review date: 23 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Chloe Smith

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