Edinburgh Festival review – Lou Sanders

A technicolour joy, if an acquired taste …

Lou_Sanders4I don’t think it would take you long to work out if you like a Lou Sanders show or not. “I’m shambolic” is pretty much the first thing she says. It’s not an apology, it’s not an “I’m crazy, me!” attention thing – it’s a warning. If it’s a slick, cohesive, finessed show you’re after, your’e in the wrong place, buster.

How To Be Awesome charts Sanders’ transformation from non-awesome teenager her to awesome now her, which makes it sound more cohesive than it is. At every turn there is a tangent and she jolts from one idea to another like a hyperactive teenager. A pigeon called Dr Spinky is introduced for what purpose I forget, she takes videos of people in the audience enjoying themselves which gets worked into a barmy but brilliant finale and there is the cut-price faux-game show of Destiny’s Wheel.

Despite that warning at the start about her shambolic nature, it takes a bit of time to adjust to her world, but once you do –if you do – it’s a technicolour joy. And it leaves you thinking she’s a bit mental. Which is an asset in comedy.

She throws herself into her ideas with reckless abandon and her irrepressible personality takes you along with it. It’s uneven and not all of it works of course, particularly her “guest act” Kerry P, a deliberately bad stand-up comic who only other comedians will find funny; and occasionally the schoolgirl-pretending-to-be-an-adult schtick grates a bit, but these are exceptions. She managed to crack a funny about female circumcision and still come out smiling – now that’s a room of goodwill she’s got there.

Stylistically there are similarities to Pappy’s, Vic and Bob and Josie Long, with the added inability to internalise anything. This may seem an odd thing to say about a comic but she doesn’t shut the hell up. It seems like stream of consciousness – “force a clap out of them, that’s nice innit” she says to herself, except, down the mic, in one of the many moments of self-commentary.

A video finale closes the show in an appropriately ridiculous manner. It’s a personality bomb of a show, with plenty of funnies included. Only those who don’t like exuberance in their comedy will harrumph, everyone else has a memorable hour to look back on.

4 stars

Lou Sanders: How To Be Awesome – An Introduction is on at 5pm at the Gilded Balloon.
Review written by Paul Fleckney

What the punters said

Amanda, London: “Very funny, something different, really good personality.” 3.5 stars

Paul, London: “I especially loved the end montage and the smoke machine bit at the beginning. It felt a bit long though” 3.5 stars

Jo, Sydney: “You don’t see may female comics doing silly stuff like that, she didn’t hold back and it didn’t become twee. I’ve seen 8 shows so far and that’s definitely one of the best.” 4.5 stars

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