Zoe Gardner's Fault

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

A last-minute splurge of inventiveness drags this show from the brink of ignominy, after a disappointing collection of competent but uninteresting comic characters fail to find the funny.

It’s especially frustrating as Zoe Gardner has already proved her talents with the Congress Of Oddities and The Real Daniel O’Donnell Show. In a typical piece of knowing dialogue, she acknowledges that this is an opportunity to demonstrate a wider range of talents, which she hopes will elevate her career beyond a supporting role in Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show.

But it’s hard to see why these particular creations would help those ambitions, however much they showcase her versatility. Disillusioned care worker Kayleigh keeps reappearing, giving a careers speech; a Brummie sales rep on a date sells herself as she would any other product; a Germanic therapist plays us soporific music; and then there’s the drunk Northerner, slurring ‘I love you’. They are all well performed, but the writing is flat.

The only exception is the character of Gardner’s manager, Alison, who provides a perceptive running commentary and comes into her own in the ambitious ‘guest spot’ at the show’s end. Here Nick Mohammed enters to stir up proceedings, carrying plenty of baggage and back-story. It’s a bit baffling, but the twists and turns certainly demonstrate a commitment to trying to shake up the character-comic genre.

Gardner’s eminently likeable, but it seems she needs someone else to spark off, for this final section is the only time the show really comes alive.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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