Alyssa Kyria: Woman Of The Year

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Alyssia Kyria is a bold, brash, unflappable sketch comic, whose commitment to performing the most tepidly written character monologues cannot be faulted. If ever they need another performer on Tittybangbang, they need look no further – and that’s hardly an unqualified endorsement.

To call her characters two-dimensional would be an insult to stick men, and they offer few jokes that transcend their limitations – but Kyria performs them with conviction and verve, bringing a vibrant energy to the weak script.

The premise of the show is that her stereotypical creations are all giving presentations to a British package holiday group in some dismally overdeveloped Greek resort. That the tour operator is called Greecey World gives an indication of the quality of the jokes.

Her main characters are rather too similar to each other: vain, self-centred women in awe of celebrity while holding the ordinary people with whom they are forced to mix in pure contempt.

The host is Ariadne – who Kyria has been performing since her 2006 Edinburgh debut – a sex-and-shopping obsessed Greek WAG forever boasting of her own fame and good looks… and her footballer husband’s ‘giant balls’. In one of the funnier moments of the show, she attempts audience interaction, but quickly tires of the civilians’ mundane lives.

Holiday rep Misty is, like, a totally Californian airhead, who is just such an enthusiastic person, right?, that she’s like… Oh my God! And on she babbles in this vacuously optimistic manner; a victory of cheeriness over content.

Lyn, meanwhile, is a brutally uncaring cosmetics rep, with industrial strength chemical treatments to put the ugly out of their misery much more effectively than any namby-pamby herbal moisturiser. It’s no surprise, then, that everyone is hideous in her eyes – and she doesn’t hold back about saying so. Anyone who saw Arabella Weir’s cruel South African cosmetics rep on the Fast Show will be familiar with this territory.

Through these creations, Kyria has created a comedy for the readers of Heat magazine, with serial gags about Madonna’s African adoption and Wayne Rooney’s sex life. If you don’t share such celebrity obsessions, the simplistic jokes might seem as pointless as the trivia they are based on.

All the characters are performed much larger-than-life, an unseen exclamation mark punctuating every sentence, emphasising every gag. It’s to Kyria’s credit that she makes all these broad caricatures watchable, as in less assured hands the exaggeration could fall flat.

The overplayed comedy reaches its peak with the over-amorous, in-your-face 104-year-old lapdancer, with few jokes but a pumping disco beat – a further illustration that this show is about enthusiasm rather than material. This state of affairs is highlighted by Kyria ending the show by leading the reluctant audience in a novelty dance, complete with actions. It’s another artificial prop where some gags should be.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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