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Comedy Review: Susan Calman

The comic holds her audience rapt with a must-see show

Laura Muldoon

Tue, 20 Nov 2012 12:50:41 GMT | Updated 4 years today

Ah, that awkward moment when you tweet someone to try and catch their attention and it turns out they're standing right next to you. It's times like these when you realise how distracting these tweets and Googles and pokes really are. I look up from my touch-screen and see Susan Calman next to me, chatting relaxedly to some acquaintances before her show This Woman's Also Not For Turning at the Soho Theatre. Seeing her off of the stage and milling around with the civilians made me panic that she might be late for her own show, I resolve with myself that she probably has that under control.


She begins the show on the positive note of disappointment, hers and others, and gives us a brief insight into her background and how she gave up being a solicitor to become a stand-up comedian. She compares her parents' disappointment, (being a solicitor apparently was the only thing that went halfway to making up for the fact she was gay - her words) to her own, when she was recently asked to be the support act for Russell Brand but didn't quite receive the reception she was hoping for.


She soon moves on to talking about her civil partnership to her girlfriend which highlighted to me how sterile that process all seems, with restrictions even on the music you can play and the readings that can be used. I didn't know this and I think it must have been news to others in the audience too. People were visibly rapt with interest in what Susan was saying and despite the content being mainly on the topic of gay marriage equality it was devoid of the easy stereotypes and the usual associations which can sometimes dominate gay comedic material. It wasn't full of 'in-jokes' and Susan made the stories seem normal and accessible, filled with the hilarious banalities of relationships that you could see loads of people nodding along with recognition of.


It is difficult not to share all the brilliant details of this show but I am keen not to ruin the genius of it, with each point she made demonstrating her fantastic skill for observation and description, all topped off with it being performed in her strong, quite high-pitched Scottish accent, which, and I don't know why, seems to make everything slightly more funny.


You can't help but feel warm towards Susan who is naturally likeable and honest about, frankly, some pretty crazy stuff regarding, cats, female facial hair and that well-known deity, Jodie Foster. The set had me laughing throughout, and made me feel marginally more sane about some of my own more obsessive character traits. In contrast, the denouement of the show left me with goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. I came away from it really thinking about what I was doing for marriage equality and with a renewed sense of wanting to fight for a cause, which whilst not being something that directly affects me at the moment, should be supported for those who it does. When such apathy is already apparently present in me, I can't express how important and necessary this stand-up show is, to open the eyes and minds of wider society; a must-see!


Susan Calman is on at London's Soho Theatre until 24 November. To book, click here.

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