reviews and recommendations

Brighton Nights: Incongruously Naughty and Brilliantly Conceived

Last night I was brilliantly entertained by a global cast of no fewer than seven superb acts at (the sold out!) Brighton Komedia’s monthly Funny Women residency! The night was expertly compered by quick-witted and engaging Lucy Frederick whose new year’s resolution endeavours to be cool were definitely something we could all relate to.

First up was Jane Postlethwaite. Her shy, rural-northern only-child style delivered nostalgic, delightful and vulnerable childhood reminiscences. We leaned in eagerly to experience her touchingly still and delicate, measured, not completely deadpan performance. Her origins and presence put me in mind of Jake Thackray. This is definitely someone I’ll be keeping my eye out for in the future.

Jane Postlethwaite was the perfect act to precede Debbie Garry’s East-end character, Dolly Slateman, who, by way of impressive contrast in the running order, outrageously mingled her way through the audience to the stage in an all-leopard print Spandex look which nearly took my eye out. I loved her rampant high energy style: mixing pure in-your-face intimidation with wickedly sexual audience interaction.

Tessa Waters, cute Australian sex bomb brought us a thrilling retro disco sexy dance lesson which was entrancing and utterly hysterical. We learned to do the ‘Woman Dance’, how to ‘crump’ (!), and also how to style out a fart on the dancefloor. Among many things on display were stunning physical clowning skills, a pitch perfect hispanic accent, a disdain for little girls who work in The Topshops, and her ass. Flirting energetically with the entire room and flinging her womanly self around with total abandon, her physicality and use of dress and sexuality were refreshing and… I’m just going to say it: horny. I found myself wishing it would never end. I think we should all channel our inner Tessa.

Next, an angelic West-end starlet singing in Walt Disney tones about getting fingered in the bikesheds at school. Tamar Broadbent’s song brought the house down and I found myself somehow relating entirely to the life experiences of a gorgeous young blond piano teacher. She closed with a Rock ballad so fast and filthy I thought my dad, who was sitting next to me aching with laughter, could barely catch his breath. It was incongruously naughty, and brilliantly conceived. Oh, yeah, I must just praise that midriff.

All the way from Cali was Cynthia Levin: the only Jew in the room. Her self effacing style was slightly uncomfortable and achieved a disarming effect: I loved her crazy faces, her exposition of ‘young women in horror films in their panties’. Her observations about how the Brits end their phone calls had us tittering heartily.  I think we should all take a leaf out of Cynthia’s book and start grabbing our boobs to recover a train of thought…

Then it was ‘Hold onto your handbags’ for Canadian via north London yummy mummy, Katherine Ryan: straight off the replacement bus service between Three Bridges and Brighton, fluent in two-year old, incisively observant about the experiences of parents with young children in the modern world, or anytime, and feeling better after a lovely day out to a certain kind of clinic, this dazzling experimental set topped the night off with bold, clever laughs from an absolute expert in observation, writing, delivery, audience interaction and handling hecklers. She completely made my week. I can’t wait to see her again when she tours next month.

Helen Salgo

Pictured: Tamar Broadbent, Katherine Ryan