Myra DuBois at Latitude 2023

Review from the Suffolk festival

She’s billing herself as the ‘Empress of Empathy’, but reinventing herself as a mindfulness guru has done nothing to soften Myra Dubois’s cruel, acerbic wit. Her idea of promoting self-awareness is to tell people what’s wrong with their miserable lives – as if she cares – so they can buck up their pathetic ideas.

There’s more than a touch of the panto dame to the Thatcher-haired Rotherham siren, taking to the Latitude stage with a jaunty old-school ditty ‘I’m here to help!’ that’s only lacking a high-kicking chorus line – although a few game audience members do the best they can in their camp chairs.

Performing her own set after her compering stint the previous day, DuBois explains she’s skipped the festival’s zen field for the comedy arena, where the most damaged people can be found, those in biggest need of her help. Though ‘people’ is a strong term given that she treats her audience with the same respect you might lend to a wasp.

Still, she holds her nose to walk among us, roving through the tent like a predator, making everyone feel a little nervous that they could be the next victim of her acid tongue. The jibes are cuttingly funny, generously mixed with filthy double entendres, and there’s a palpable sense of jeopardy.

In one moment, it appears a poncho-clad man might upstage her as he hovers menacingly behind the fold-up chair in which she’s installed herself. But it’s only momentary - this queen is hard to best, and she has a sassy line for everything.

DuBois – the well-established alter-ego of Gareth Joyner –  ends by murdering the Annie Lennox song Why? with all the grace and tunefulness of a trapped seagull.  She probably hasn’t quite earned our indulgence enough over short set to justify this torture, though it may befit the end of a full tour show. It’d certainly empty the theatre quickly.

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Published: 24 Jul 2023

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Myra DuBois: Self AdMyra

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Myra DuBois: DuBois Entendre

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Myra DuBois: Dead Funny

Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Myra DuBois: Dead Funny [2021]

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Myra DuBois: Be Well


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