Susan Calman: Lady Like | Review by Steve Bennett
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Susan Calman: Lady Like

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Steve Bennett

Susan Calman is a comedian who’s time has come. Dependably, naturally funny, she’s already sold out her full Edinburgh run and has never been more in demand by broadcasters.

Indeed, a mainstay of this show is a routine about filming adventurous activities in Iceland with Phil Tufnell for the TV channel Dave – which might seem a far cry from her usual everywoman shtick about comfort eating or watching cat videos on the internet. But her blunt reactions to the extreme situations prove that you can take the woman out of Glasgow, but never Glasgow out of the woman.

She is a woman of simple comforts, who likes hanging out with the old men in her unpretentious local more than anything else. Lady Like is not, however, about her attempts to become more stereotypically feminine, nor is it about her love for ladies (though as officially the UK’s fourth best comedy lesbian, it does come up). No, this is about her attempts to better like one particular lady, herself.

It’s a battle she’s fighting with her own self-doubt as well as the barrage of abuse from online trolls that pushed her to a nervous breakdown, as she reveals in a rare moment of gravity. However it is but a brief interlude amid more jauntily-told anecdotes such as an ill-fated romantic trip to Paris, which her wife holds against her to this day, or a childhood stint at dance classes where any dreams of being a prima ballerina were brutally extinguished.

This is all relatable, mildly self-deprecating stuff, with nothing of the political fire in her belly that fuelled her last show, about civil partnerships, back in 2012. The autobiographical anecdotes here are all consistently amusing, and the laughs flow freely, but there’s no stronger connection than laughing at her eccentricities.

The lightly-worn theme is about owning her flaws and seeing, usually with the benefit of hindsight, the comic in the everyday – even if adapting to her nascent celebrity is something she hasn’t yet fully come to terms with. She had probably better learn quickly, though, as she’s sure to become increasingly better known.

Review date: 8 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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