Izzy Mant: Polite Club | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Izzy Mant: Polite Club

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

‘Polite’ and ‘stand-up’ are not words that naturally belong together. Comedy is usually based on sharing your honest, unadulterated feelings to reveal a truth, while good manners is about hiding those thoughts for the sake of social pleasantries.

So it’s to her credit that Izzy Mant has created an afternoon show about her natural courtesy that doesn’t slip into the banal – at least not most of the time. For as so often with the veneer of civility, there’s something deeper going on beneath the surface of an unflustered, pleasant, middle-class Samantha Cameron lookalike, standing next to a teapot and Royal Family tea caddy as she delivers her thoughts.

After an amusing preamble about her ‘resting polite face’ and being told that she was ‘addicted’ to politeness, we get to the nub of the show: whether being so passive has been detrimental to her love life. And specifically whether her reluctance to rock the boat was exploited by a partner who was either a ‘difficult genius’ or a ‘controlling dickhead’. She acknowledges he’s #notallmen – but #nearlyallmen in her story are poor ambassadors for their gender. 

Mant’s day job is as a producer of TV comedy programmes such as The Windsors, Peep Show and Harry & Paul – so even if she’s new to stand-up, she’s fluent in the language of comedy. That’s proved in a show that’s elegantly put-together, with unforced callbacks, flashes of theatricality and even choreography to add a touch of class to the story.

It’s sporadically laugh-out-loud, with a few gentle lulls and a few segments where advancing the story is more important than gags. And true to her polite billing, Mant is charming, urbane company as she speaks with disarming insight about some of the relationship mistakes she’s made.

This is certainly an assured and polished debut – and I’m not just saying that to be polite. 

Review date: 3 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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