I can’t write this review of Maria Bamford’s show at Leicester Square Theatre without first mentioning her fantastic support Felicity Ward, whose quirky and hilarious performance was perfectly complementary to Maria’s comedy style.
Felicity wasn’t wrong when she introduced Maria Bamford as one of the best comedians of our time. What in lesser comedian’s hands might appear to be a muttering stream of consciousness, in Maria’s is a multi-faceted, multi-voiced show that addresses her marriage, mental health, and comedy career trajectory in her signature endearing manner.
I think it’s fair to say for a long time Maria has been a comedian’s comedian. Someone who ought to have enjoyed earlier and bigger success, however, it appears the comedian is perfectly content with her, by no means insubstantial, achievements – using a competition with her Christian mother to address her treatment of extras on her Netflix show Lady Dynamite, revealing her fees on stage and straight up announcing she is quite happy currently.
This is what’s so refreshing about Maria, she’s so honest and direct about every aspect of her life that she shares on stage, without appearing vulnerable. Oh, she shares vulnerable moments, but at no point is this uber-talent a vulnerable woman on stage and this is not an easy balance to strike.
Continuing on her themes from her last comedy special Old Baby, Maria shares her experiences of staying in a psychiatric ward and the side effects the various medications she takes have on her. The comic and writer also touches on the spiky topic of white privilege, while many comedians fail to handle this issue without revealing a misunderstanding of some experience or hashtag, Maria effortlessly cites the advantages she has enjoyed from having successful parents and simply acknowledging some people have different opportunities and lack the access she has.
Relentlessly original and shamelessly adorable, last night Maria was at her best when talking about her husband, their marriage counselor and her fantasies.
I suggest you beg, borrow or steal a ticket for this show.