Having seen a motley collection of the great and the okay in Pick of the Fest and the unforgettable ultimate therapy performance by Mr Richard Gadd, we thought we’d give this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival a gala send-off by seeing three productions on the final Saturday. To make it go with a swing Mrs Chrisparkle and I were accompanied by Lady Duncansby and her butler Sir William as well as my noble Lord Liverpool and the Countess of Cockfosters. Six Characters in search of Comic Relief, one might say.
I’d recognised Lucy Pearman’s name from the Edinburgh Fringe schedules but we didn’t see her show last summer. You can find some rather wry videos of her doing comic things online and I thought she would be worth a punt, if you’ll pardon the expression. WIP and a Cabbage, I’m sensing, was taking her show about a Cabbage (stay with me) and adding some WIP to it – but I’m not entirely sure. This description is all you need to know about the background to the show: ‘Traditionally, unmarried girls were sent into the veg garden to choose the ‘perfect’ cabbage’. Who knew?
Lucy is the new maid who has to escape the clutches of the lascivious Lord Wynd and has three things that she must do: avoid kissing him, find the best cabbage, and make sure she doesn’t reveal her bad side. I know this for a fact, because she asked me to read these instructions out to her. It could have been worse; she got Lord Liverpool to hold up a piece of paper that read “New Maid” for ages and then made him sit on a collapsible chair. We always knew where she would find the best cabbage, because she handed it out at the beginning of the show; in feeble comparison, others, like my namesake Chris (fistbump), Lord Liverpool and a distinguished looking chap in the second row were all given (let’s not pretend to be proud) a Brussels Sprout each. How it shamed our manhoods.
I realise as I’m telling you all this, gentle reader, that probably none of it makes the remotest sense. However, the proof of the pudding in a comedy show is how much you laugh, and I have to say we all laughed an awful lot. Ms Pearman has a lovely stage presence and is a gifted comic and clown, using a sotto voce delivery that can reduce a grown man to pure humiliation. “I’m beginning to regret you” she quietly admitted, as I failed to keep up with her dictation, much to the amusement of everyone else. Having established earlier on if I could read (I could), she also found out I could write. “Show off, aren’t you” was her only response.
Ms Pearman embodies gentle lunacy with a withering touch. She reminded me of what an extra member of Spymonkey might be like as she sprang from innocent maiden to red-raw monster and back again (you had to be there). Very assured with any curved balls the audience sent her way, it was forty minutes of pure silliness and I absolutely loved it. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for what she’s doing next. And next time, I’ll bring my own cabbage.