Comedy Review: Katherine Ryan at the Nuffield Theatre
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The Nuffield Theatre’s comedy line up this year is stunning, and what better way to dive right into it than an evening with the tour-de-force that is panel show legend, Katherine Ryan.
Support for her headline show, titled Glam Role Model, came in the form of the hotly tipped Dane Baptiste. His style of observational comedy is exactly what comedy audiences crave. This is the sort of comedy that is bang on trend and Baptiste does it in such as way that his calm disposition could be interpreted as a lack of passion. However, as he warmed up in the set, it was evident that this was his style, so jokes about the KKK and self-deprecating jipes about being black come across in a deadpan style that you couldn’t help but laugh at. Baptiste’s set ranged from the jokes about being in the friend-zone (face it, we’ve all been there) right up to jokes about the Ozone layer.
His wit and on-point references when talking about the perception of men in society were so playful and ironic that it blew out of the water things such as sexism and lad culture that are so rife in society. By mocking these perceptions he in fact highlighted the ridiculousness of gender stereotypes in the way a lot of comedians fail to achieve. The crowd at the Nuffield weren’t roaring with laughter but they weren’t sat in awkward silence either, so all in all, a solid warm up for the main act.
After a short interval, the lights dim and on a voiceover introduced the next act. This is no ordinary voice over however, this is Katherine Ryan’s ‘flatmate’ and best friend, her adorable five year-old daughter. Rounding up the intro and introducing her mum ‘the strong, independent black woman, Katherine Ryan!’ the show begins. Ryan’s already critically acclaimed; Glam Role Model set is not one to be missed and is in fact one of the best comedy shows I have been to at at the Nuffield. Not only is her humour exactly my cup of tea (outrageously near-the-knuckle), her charisma and delivery makes watching her the complete entertainment package.
She begins by addressing her situation as a single-mum, but instead of asking for sympathy this soon turns into a hilarious sketch about how she can’t quite believe she once ‘shot this five year old English person out of her vag.’ In her set Ryan attempts an array of accents, and being a Canadian immigrant now living in England, this was one of the highlights throughout the set. Her attempt at impersonating Cheryl Cole’s Geordie slur was one of the funniest sketches I’ve witnessed in a long time, this along with her uncanny impersonation of an essex-born Glamour model got the audience in stitches.
In general her acute awareness of the ridiculousness of celebrity culture is a breath of fresh air in the Heat-reading, X-Factor watching world we live in. She dubs celebrity a ‘religion’ which makes the audience aware of the message behind her stand-up routine. Yep, picking on celebrities can be seen as cheap shots, but the way that Ryan intelligently critiques the celebrity sphere is something people often shy away from. Her ruthless attitude when calling Beliebers ‘cunts’ without a blink of her eye summarise what her show is about. Turning to the audience when they ‘ooh’ at the drop of a C-Bomb is countered with a ‘really?!’ attitude when she can see it is what everyone in the room is really thinking. Ryan’s personal anecdotes are where she shines the brightest, from fallings out with Tulisa, to discovering her boyfriend was cheating on her with a glamour model, these straight-talking analyses of situations, and her no bullshit attitude, make the show hilariously brilliant.
Ryan has been touring Glam Role Model since the summer but has kept her show bang up to date with topical references. For example, she has incorporated recent newsical activities such as the Oscar Pistorius trail right through to the Jennifer Lawrence-iCloud scandal - in fact her remedy to the latter is a call of arms for everyone to leak their sex pictures online before the hackers get to them first. Her discussion of sexulaity is one that is so on-point that you will find yourself vigorously nodding in between the laughter at Ryan’s observations of society. The way in which she compares the slut-shaming of Tulisa and that infamous sex tape, to the contrasting treatment of Jennifer Lawrence’s nudes leaking, is a perfect example she uses when critiquing our the class system here in the UK.
As well as addressing hard-hitting topical things such as sexism, she tackles one topic in particular that could be seen in bad taste, that being abortion. As she muses about her own experience, instead of alienating some of the audience, this makes instantly her more relatable. This gag is done in the most tasteful manner and in the access-all-areas approach we have come to know and love from the panel show favourite that we see Katherine Ryan more as one of us, a normal human being, rather than as being part of the celebrity culture she critiques.Concluding her set she leads into what can only be described as the best Beyonce sketch I have ever seen. Keeping on the feminist vein that runs throughout her show, she talks about Beyonce, the way most people do, with complete adoration. Alongside this she perfectly replicates Queen Bey’s most famous hip-swivelling dance move to bring the fantastic show to a close. Katherine Ryan is an asset to the British comedy seen, and if don’t get to catch her on the rest of her UK tour with Glam Role Model make sure you keep an eye on all of the nations favourite panel shows for her next appearance.
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