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Isy Suttie: Pearl and Dave
Published on Sunday, 07 August 2011

4 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Reviewed by Liv Watson

 Recommended for age 16+ only.
 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Known mainly – by her own admission – as ‘Dobby from Peep Show’, and hailing from Matlock, Derbyshire, Isy Suttie’s past is decidedly unglamorous. Perhaps it is this that lends her ‘salt-of-the-earth’ characters (characters who frequent the Skegness Butlins, that is), such heart-warming credibility.

There is a refreshing honesty about Suttie’s stand-up that seems to induce a sort of proud parental glow in the audience, and she easily has the crowd chuckling in a conspiratorial fashion.  Suttie herself is unfailingly endearing, so that the announcement that she is ‘in love for the first time’ is delightfully sincere rather than mawkish. The gig is driven by this sincerity: Suttie finds fun in the most lovable elements of her characters’ personalities, and the romance of Pearl and Dave, which is essentially a drawn out cyber-affair consisting of surreptitious Skype dates, is transformed into a heart-breaking tale of unrequited love.
Interspersed throughout the Pearl and Dave narrative are snippets from Suttie’s own love life – usually bittersweet, normally bizarre. We learn that, until now, her relationships were characterised by strange demonstrations of affection: the painstaking construction of a five-foot papier-mâché penguin, for example, which Suttie imagines regretting its own creation as it mournfully beholds the disintegration of the couple’s relationship.

The show is punctuated with catchy songs on the guitar, Suttie singing along unabashedly – whether the character that she is impersonating is the born and bred Matlock accountant Dave, continually trying to calm his nerves (C’mon Dave), or the upper-middle class Surrey-ite Pearl. Indeed, the whole show has a musical quality, with a ‘three facts about each character’ refrain recurring throughout, and the respective ups and downs of her romantic tale finding an outlet in the accompanying musical highs and lows.

It’s a calming, non-confrontational and completely lovable show.  But while Suttie is extremely engaging and very amusing, it is more poignant than hilarious. Suttie’s forte lies in her aptitude for impersonations and carefully pitched delivery rather than laugh-out-loud gags: although the venue was packed, the audience didn't make much noise.  Don’t go expecting an hour of relentless joke-telling, but do go to see ‘Dobby from Peep Show’ prove that she is an ever-so-quirky, and ever-so-adorable, comedian in her own right.

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