Viv Gee: Age Against The Machine

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Jay Richardson

A stand-up tutor, Viv Gee ticks off all the stock tricks of her trade. A celebrity lookalike, check. How to survive a bear attack, check. 50 Shades of Grey; the perils of predictive texting; the differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh, check. The premise for this show isn’t exactly promising either, a forty-something woman railing against the advances of modern life. Over-stressing her senior moments somewhat, there should be a moratorium on comics feigning befuddlement about social networking by describing Twitter as Twatter.

Despite the protestations, Gee can hardly be said to have one foot in the grave, demonstrating as much with an extended interpretative dance sequence. There are no jokes in this as such, beyond that of a woman of a certain age performing air guitar or breakdancing, but she possesses a self-deprecating charisma that sells it well.

One of several set-pieces she employs to break up the stand-up, by far and away the most satisfying are her witty, snappy poems. Without much setup, she simply launches into them and trusts the audience to keep up, with The 12 Ages Of Chat a mini-gem of acute social observation. Elsewhere, a Scottish take on Sex And The City is crude but fun and a pastiche of the old nursery rhyme ‘There was an old man who swallowed a fly’ about conflict in the Middle East and political machinations, reveals an ambition lacking elsewhere.

What frustrates with Gee is that she’s capable of original takes on familiar subjects, occasionally subverting the nostalgic clichés with something out of leftfield. There’s compelling satire in her connecting social networking with a totalitarian state, but she settles for a few superficial remarks before moving onto the wholly predictable predictive text stuff.

A sepia-tinted reminisce about playing doctors and nurses is deliciously dirty, even if she perhaps enjoys the cosy, supposed shock value of smut rather too much. Too often though, she seems unwilling to risk the laughs of recognition she’s established for something more daring. A likeable and technically adroit comic, Gee ought to gamble some of that audience goodwill to deliver something more interesting.

Review date: 18 Mar 2013
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson
Reviewed at: Glasgow State Bar

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