Natalie Haynes: Six Degrees of Desolation Perrier
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
The queen of confessional cool dissects the six things that have left her a broken woman at 27. She will make you laugh. She will try not to make you cry.
Natalie Haynes's show just can't live up to its billing.
'Desolation, confessional, scary' these words suggest a bleak, moody piece exploring taboos and exposing the underside of her personality.
Instead, we get some reasonable stand-up, but that's about it.
From her tales, Haynes comes across as a bit impulsive, a bit bitchy, a bit opinionated. But that's hardly on the edge of darkness - in fact it's pretty much assumed for a stand-up. OK, she wanted to send a dead pigeon to an ex - but that's the extreme.
Her on-stage persona reflects this supposedly bitter and twisted character even less. She's chatty, open and engaging, keeping interest levels up as the hour pootles along nicely.
There's not a huge amount of structure here - there are the six categories of the title, but they are not issues to be explored, but just chapter headings for a rag-bag of anecdotes.
The first heading, for example, is phobias, which she starts off by talking about her "phobia" of NHS bureaucracy - seemingly happy to lump a mild irritation in with morbid fears, just because she happens to have some material on it.
Similarly, a row she had with a comedy promoter is categorised under 'death' - but for the most tenuous of reasons.
It's all enjoyable enough stuff - and includes a genuinely informative tale of how Apple Computers got their logo, trivia fans - but at the end of the day it lacks the depth or substance that an hour-long show requires.