Iszi Lawrence’s A Matter of Tact may be indulgent, but there are winning moments, writes Paul Fleckney.
If good writing is an innate talent and editing something that can be more easily acquired, then Iszi Lawrence could be onto a winner. Because while her debut solo show, A Matter of Tact, sometimes feels like an outpouring of material that would benefit from a little brevity, there are flashes of real brilliance that reveal a natural flare for comedy.
Of particular note is some inventive imagery involving climbing into Alan Rickman’s mouth, a mohawk dodging a pigeon and a randy frog, and some fantastic lines on the reincarnation of Buddhist children, Edward Woodward in the Wicker Man and a microwaved hamster.
That range of reference points towards Iszi’s undoubted intelligence, and makes for constant stimulus, but it also muddy the waters. While the various ruminations and digressions do loosely relate to the themes of the show (Iszi’s atheism and her life with a Christian best friend and Muslim family), they don’t take the show in any particular direction and the ‘Matter of Tact’ title is hastily reintroduced and tied up at the end. It would be less confusing to expect simply an hour of stand-up, rather than a particular show on a particular theme.
There are many corners and nooks to Espionage Kasbar, so arrive early to get a view of the stage (the venue is pleasingly rammed today), although Iszi’s verve and positivity can be relied upon to reach everyone. However, what goes unacknowledged is this is a more mixed bag than your average young, middle-class, liberal London comedy crowd, and a few explainers are required to prevent alienating anyone who isn’t atheist or familiar with Radio 4 announcers.
An enjoyable, engaging show that feels a bit long and indulgent, but one peppered with winning moments.