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Catriona Knox: Hellcat

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Nione Meakin

The force of Catriona Knox’s charm is quite something. She’s got such an appealingly animated face and gung-ho goofiness that criticising her feels like kicking a kitten.

But when a nice personality is the best thing you can flag up about a comedian, it doesn’t speak favourably of the material and sadly, this show doesn’t live up to the potential of Knox’s 2011 debut.

The main problem is lack of substance; too many of the skits feel like very slight ideas stretched far beyond what they’re worth. A piece of gobbledegook nonsense about a woman’s wedding is funny for a while and there’s comedy in Knox’s made-up, pick ‘n’ mix European language and the enlistment of bewildered audience members in a supposedly familiar ritual that only the comedian is privy to. But it goes on far too long and just becomes tedious and self-indulgent.

One can’t help but suspect Knox is padding to drag out a weak sketch this far and that suspicion only gets stronger when she introduces a raddled beauty counter assistant who meanders through the audience, making inappropriate suggestions for improvement (shades of Arabella Weir's Fast Show character here) before petering out into a punch line that consists of a man being plucked from the audience and made to put on lipstick without a mirror. A little audience participation is OK but not when it seems to be in lieu of proper material. Then one can’t help but feel short-changed. After all, we’re here to watch a comedian, not to provide the laughs ourselves.

Knox has a few gems up her sleeve however. The four-year-old who narrates their first day at school with an adult’s world-weariness is a delight, albeit a one-dimensional one, and her Question Time spoof, in which a flustered MP attempts to explain how she came to have photos of a cat dressed in an SS uniform is hilariously observed and farcically realised.

But these are the only two genuinely strong pieces in an hour-long show that’s bookended by the premise that it’s the end of the world and Knox is a peppy version of Christ, sent back to earth to sort the saved from the damned – all of which turns out to be yet another opportunity to turn the spotlight on the audience.

Even Knox’s energy and likeability can’t disguise the fact this is half an hour’s worth of material masquerading as a full-blown show.

Review date: 27 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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