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Loretta Maine: Bipolar
Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012
3

3 stars

Just the Tonic at The Caves (venue website)
Comedy
2-13, 15-26 Aug, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Lynne Morris

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Never mind Loretta Maine: Bipolar, this show should be called Loretta Maine: Pissed. In its press it promises to explore “the two sides of her personality: angry and really f*cking angry”. In reality the character opens the show pretending to be drunk, stumbling along with painfully forced slurred speech, until further on into the show she downs an entire bottle of wine live on stage in twenty seconds. Oh dear. I’m glad the Pankhurst girls weren’t in the audience to see the journey on which we’ve taken our dear friend modern-feminism.

The show is primarily a musical voyage with Maine, her band ‘Penis Envy’, and their conversational songs with novelty titles and unusual subject matter (such as sleep apnoea and how many chicken shops you can name). Topics with more gravity are also touched upon, but she largely steers clear, instead turning brief political references into comic lines here and there. Many of the observations made are indeed humorous, but I found the direction taken formulaic and such the show itself was all just a bit too predictable.

Maine throws herself fully into the character. Interaction with her downtrodden, obedient band-mates plays out amusingly like the abusive friendships most people have, at some point, endured. Virtually everyone else in the room laughed near constantly – and were joined by Maine on more than one occasion as she slipped momentarily out of character, genuinely amused with the stupidity of it all. These were my favourite moments, as it gave a welcome indication of a self-acuity that implies how many further layers Pippa Evans could be hiding beneath this particular character.

If I wasn’t already aware of my status as a discontent minority, I was reminded on exiting the venue, where a group of girls declared she was their favourite female act of the Fringe. Beyond the fact that I may have unwittingly undergone sense-of-humour-removal treatment, I think my main problem was disappointment. I was expecting a funny and potentially insensitive take on a sensitive and intriguing subject, but I got an hour of a pretty girl charging around on stage, pulling faces and singing silly-funny songs. The show is not especially insensitive; it’s more that it’s inappropriately titled.

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