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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Brighton 2012 arrow Mae-Day: I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning
Mae-Day: I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning
Published on Friday, 25 May 2012

4 stars

Marlborough Theatre (venue website)
24-26 May, 10:00pm-11:00pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

I wouldn’t have gone to Canadian Mae Martin’s stand-up show if I hadn’t been reviewing it. My life would have gone on as normal until Friday, 21st December (the date of apocalypse as predicted by the Mayans – the end of the world is a theme of this show). But I certainly wouldn’t have been as happy. One of the great benefits of being a reviewer is when you see something really good that you would’ve missed otherwise, and this was one of those nights.

I’ve never been to the Marlborough Theatre before; it’s a lovely space above the Marlborough pub on the edge of Kemp Town, though a bit on the warm side (as in black hole of Calcutta warm). But I haven’t had much luck with stand-up in rooms above pubs this festival, so the omens weren’t that favourable.  Then the lights dimmed and out popped Mae.

Mae Martin’s free flowing show is a mixture of stand-up, songs, and one very good Julia Roberts impression. For someone who's only in her mid-twenties, she has a very accomplished stage presence, and there’s a controlled improvisational quality about her. You really get the sense that, as a performer, she’s found her feet and is just starting to stretch her legs. Plus, she’s really likeable and fun. It’s not often you’re sad at the end of a show because you remember that you don’t actually know the performer; I didn’t want to clap, so much as say it was her round.

For me the highlights were her parody songs. I especially liked the one about her middle-school English teacher not accepting her Facebook friend request, performed in the style of Alanis Morissette’s You Ought to Know. The end-of-the-world theme isn’t overworked, but mentioned just enough. My one note of caution is that because of the semi-improv nature of the show, some nights might be better than others – but it’s a risk worth taking.

Overall, a great show. It’s perfect for anyone who has spent more time thinking about what they would do in the advent of zombies than planning for their retirement (which would include most of my friends). And after all, the end of the world can’t be that bad… at least you get the day off work.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.