sat 19/10/2019

Edinburgh Fringe: Liam Mullone/Sarah Kendall/Iszi Lawrence | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Liam Mullone/Sarah Kendall/Iszi Lawrence

Edinburgh Fringe: Liam Mullone/Sarah Kendall/Iszi Lawrence

A smart tirade against the white man's burden, a sardonic take on motherhood, and a likeable bisexual Thundercat

Liam Mullone: where fascism and fluffy animals collide

 

Liam Mullone: A Land Fit For Fuckwits, Stand 4 ****

 

Liam Mullone might perform his hour of clever, quietly simmering stand-up flanked by a faithful toy raccoon called Mr Eek, but there’s nothing fluffy about his material. Mullone targets knee-jerk liberalism with a steel toe-capped intellect. He takes it as read that the likes of the EDL are deeply unpleasant knuckleheads; it’s just that people who get their kicks by constantly pointing out the fact aren’t necessarily much better.

Dressed in the ageless uniform of the terminally right-on bore – including copious lapel badges and tweed jacket – he uses the burden of national and personal history as a springboard for some acute insights on a number of touchy subjects, including race, rape, class and a culture programmed to see paedophilia lurking within every child-adult interaction. There’s a gratifying hard edge to his comedy, but there are also flights of gentle whimsy and surrealism which recall Eddie Izzard and Harrys Hill and Enfield. Mullone is very funny on the impossibility of maintaining political rage in a craft shop and the shocking state of life expectancy in Albert Square, while a reading from War and Peace ensures that you will never lazily use the phrases “cry like a baby” ever again.

He increasingly wanders off on tangents as he gets closer to the end, very amusingly so on the difficulty of naming Canadian lakes and persuading a new girlfriend to use “pre-loved sex toys”, less so on the subject of moths. A highly entertaining two fingers to programmed guilt and shame, A Land Fit For Fuckwits ends on a very British – and reassuringly dubious – note, as Mullone puts his own peculiar spin on the utopian ideal that all the world really needs is a great big melting pot. It made a certain kind of sense at the time. Graeme Thomson

 

Sarah Kendall: Get Up, Stand-Up, Pleasance Courtyard ****

 

Fans of the Australian have been waiting five years for her to return to the Fringe, but she's been busy doing other things since she last appeared – having a daughter, to be precise. And while becoming a parent forms a large part of her act it's not in a squidgy kind of way, for that would be the antithesis this straight-talking, sardonic comic's stage persona.

Having a daughter has made Kendall more aware of the need for positive messages about being a female in our highly sexualised and still male-dominated society, and she recounts tales of how even she, as a sparky Aussie, can be put down or intimidated by men. She works towards a brilliant set piece about the world she wants for her daughter, which would be a storming end to any show, but Kendall has more. She has written a bedtime story to undermine all the aggressive male images her daughter is bombarded with in classic literature. Goldilocks it ain't but it provides a most unexpected sign-off. Veronica Lee

 

Iszi Lawrence's Wotnot, Stand 2 ***

 

Although this breathless young Oxford stand-up describes her physical appearance as “Twenties lesbian who fucked a thundercat” - with a bit of Sue Perkins thrown in for good measure, I'd say - she is, in fact, bisexual. This is not peripheral to her act. Much of Wotnot is spent musing over amorous (mis)adventures and lamenting an inappropriate schoolgirl crush which lingered long into adulthood.

Her show – named after her pet name for her “lady region” – is a little ragged but never less than breezy, good-natured fun. The subjects up for discussion include a sexually unembarassable mother, fascist chickens, and Richard Dawkin’s dog.

She has one really fantastic cooking-related gag about the difference between having sex with a man and a woman, and a very good shaggy dog story about pornographic pasta, but it's fair to say than an hour is probably a good 20 minutes more than she can comfortably fill with strong material. There’s a little too much “my funny friends” padding, and while she plays winningly on her unapologetically geeky middle-classness, her trainspotter sci-fi references orbited somewhere far above the audience’s heads on the day I saw her. There's plenty of room for improvement, but Lawrence is already an immensely likeable and very promising comic talent. Graeme Thomson

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.