review star review star review star review star review blank star

Catriona Knox: Packed Lunch

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Edinburgh is always flooded with twentysomething female character acts, with bags of theatrical confidence, a dressing-up box, and the hopes of being the next Catherine Tate… or at last a regularly-employed comedy supporting actor.

Catriona Knox has a competitive edge, as there’s more to her show than just adept acting, but also impressive character-driven writing that ranges from the wry to the uproariously hilarious.

Her performance credentials can’t be questioned. She throws herself into each part, though pulling short of going over-the-top. Since she can convey an emotion with the slightest flicker of her eyes, she has no need to be full-on all the time.

On the face of it, many of her creations don’t sound all that promising, being archetypes with which comedy is already very familiar: the internet blind datee, the theatrical grande dame reminiscing about the glory days, the jilted bride who doesn’t accept its all over and, the most-used boilerplate of the lot, the street-talking youf.

Yet Knox brings a keen wit to most of the these, and rare depths to a few. That teenager, for instance, is more a bag of nervous adolescent awkwardness, all tongue-tied as he tries to ‘aks’ a girl out, or on the cusp of realising his dreams of a media job might be more difficult than he thinks, especially given the GCSEs he just got from his Bedford comp.

The dumped wife’s naivety is skillfully exploited, too, as laughs are found on the rickety bridge over the reality chasm between her romantic delusions and the blunt truth, which looks perilously close to collapse. And while the insecurities of the singleton are overplayed in the dating sketch, the resultant slapstick is pulled off expertly.

Of weaker characters, the overly-gregarious Greek restaurant owner who welcomes us is motr an excuse for energy-lifting audience participation than a fully-rounded creation, while the faded thespian, in the vein of Matt Lucas’s Sir Bernard Chumley is the only one that doesn’t really engage, even though she’s given a few delightful turns of phrase.

Yet you’d forgive Knox everything for her dazzling, inspired turn as Sarah Ferguson, reimagined a gobby Northern fishwife, desperately touting her royal connections as she ‘hasn’t a pot to fucking piss in’. This is a brilliant idea, hilariously executed with commitment, verve and a cracking script, sticking true to character yet zipping with gags that build on the central joke, and don’t dilurte it.

This scene is worth the ticket price alone, but the rest of this lunchtime treat is endlessly entertaining, and frequently funny, too.

Review date: 7 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.