Lyra May: Her Dark Materials

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Everybody’s got to start somewhere; but Her Dark Materials was just someone who really didn’t know what she was doing, introducing three other comics only marginally better qualified.

That’s not what this show was billed as. Lyra May described herself as a ‘Gothic clown from Hades’ and promised a ‘banquet of horror’. But aside from the over-sized plastic skull carefully positioned on stage, and May dressing in black, any idea of a Satanic journey into the depths of the soul were quietly abandoned.

She touched on the theme a bit: describing zombies in the same way as the Daily Express might describe immigrants, or proclaiming her atheism through a few scatological images – but it’s all standard open-spot fare.

Not sticking to a theme is no real sin, of course, by May’s routines were under-written, performed with little confidence – and not nearly interesting enough. The idea, say, that stage mediums might execute their frauds by asking vague questions is obvious, and acting it out with variants on: ‘Does anybody know anybody who’s died ever?’ adds nothing.

More diversions come in some fumbled audience participation, ill-thought-through and executed awkwardly, and songs, performed at the wrong tempo. There are a couple of laughs in her routine, but nothing you’d pay for.

Perhaps wary of this she added some friends to the bill. First of them was James Hately, introduced as ‘responsible for quite a few people in the Derby area getting into comedy’ – which, as a sales line, might need some work.

The same could be said of his act. He seemed jolly enough – and made much of the fact he didn’t fit the long-abandoned Gothic theme – but his brand of surreal whimsy, based around his beard and woodland creatures (what else?) lacked distinction.

Nutty Leanne McKie had a lot more spark to her. She gabbled too quickly and has dubious quality control – mixing poor puns with much more inventive asides – but blasts though with her manic ADD personality. Flashes of uniquely oddball thinking – and a couple of genuinely ace lines – suggest a world-view worth developing. It’s all a jumble at the moment, but a sweetly entertaining one, despite the serial-killer references.

Al Grant is a big, hairy, shouty man with a guitar, redolent of Mitch Benn. But his comic inspiration goes no further than saying rude things to rock riffs, with songs including Clean Bollocks and In Your Faeces. But the lyrics are boring after the first two minutes, if not before.

They say the devil has all the best tunes, but based on Her Dark Materials, he needs to do a lot more work on his comedy.

Review date: 7 Feb 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Leicester The Looking Glass

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.