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Susan Calman: Constantly Seeking Susan

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Corry Shaw

As one of Scotland's most respected comedians, star and guest of many a radio show and winner of Best New Comedian in last year’s Scottish Variety Awards, it could be argued that Susan Calman has already left an impressive legacy. But having given up her job as a corporate lawyer and getting to a certain age, Calman is wondering how people will remember her when she dies.

Not perhaps the cheeriest subject for comedy but her self-written premature obituary makes for a surprisingly entertaining hour. With her lilting Glaswegian twang and her ever-ready grin Calman can even make her own miserable take on her life pretty lighthearted.

We get a full run through of the obituary before she goes on to dissect it section by section. It is a vitriolic rant at her own perceived failings, her height, weight, her inability to lie – which leads to a very tempting do-it-yourself anecdote to try at the office.

There is the need to suspend disbelief a little as it is hard to imagine someone to be that unhappy with a life where they are in a loving long-term relationship, doing the job they love with a law degree to fall back on should the BBC Radio slots dry up, a sold-out room at the Edinburgh Fringe and a truckload of fans hanging on her every word.

It is a personal journey with some accessible tales and gags about feminism, relationships and Facebook. It is a solid performance from a likable act but there are no stand-out moments, no massive belly laughs to break up the regular giggles. Nailing the theme and the delivery is all well and good but there is a lightweight feel to the hour with no real bite. The excitement only really comes when Calman banters with her audience, she has a natural comic talent for ad-libbing and it livens up the room no end when she slips away from her script.

Calman is a superb performer, but perhaps needs to return with something less scripted so we can see her truly shine delivering something more natural, free-flowing and passionate.

Review date: 23 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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