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Nat Luurtsema: Here She Be

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Nione Meakin

If there’s one piece of advice all single people should be given it is this: never date a stand-up. Or if you do, never split up with them. In most break-ups you’ll only be slagged off in front of your ex’s friends and family. Call things off with a comedian and you’ll probably find your failings being sniggered at by an audience.

Former couple Tom Craine and Nat Luurtsema are both stand-ups who are each presenting shows about the end of their relationship while continuing to perform together as part of sketch group Jigsaw.  Yeah, awkward.

And it gets worse because while Craine is gentlemanly in his recounting of events in his show Crying On A Waltzer, Luurtsema, it turns out, is less cautious. 

Although it starts sweetly enough – love at first sight, cohabitation by the third date – it isn’t long before she’s sharing details of his terrible underpants and habit of peeing in Coke cans - but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind anyone knowing that.

Still, she isn’t much more flattering about herself. Both seem to agree that the reason for the split was that the relationship just couldn’t sustain two 31-year-old idiots. Craine may have flooded the bathroom when he fell asleep in the shower and blocked the plughole but Luurtsema describes herself as the sort of woman who loses shoes on nights out and likes to suckle from the teat of boxed wine bags.

She gets more mileage from how she fared in the aftermath than from the break-up itself – her resentful return to the family home which she wrote about in her book Cuckoo In The Nest; her horror at being chatted up by boys too young to remember Magic Eye pictures or CD Walkmen. There’s a wonderfully bittersweet segment about the awkwardness of having to stick around to watch her ex get over her, hoping that he meets someone nice and kind: ‘But not funny… or tall. Someone who’s beautiful… on the inside.’

It works as storytelling but Luurtsema is not a born comedian and the set is short on real laughs.

Transparent attempts to crowbar in levity often come across as clunky and misjudged. A poignant segment about the show’s title – a phrase a delighted Craine would shout whenever Luurtsema entered a room – is followed by a story about a make-or-break holiday to Switzerland where romance was curtailed by a stomach bug described far too graphically. Elsewhere a joke about dolphins having prehensile penises and the wisdom of letting disabled children swim with them was horribly off-key and a weak gag about the term ‘mixed-sex saunas’ actually made me groan.

No one can fail to admire the pair’s bravery in attempting to turn heartbreak into laughs but neither quite nails it. If breaking up is hard to do, making comedy about it is apparently even harder.


Review date: 16 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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