You can hear the buzz as far afield as Buckinghamshire and beyond. It is not often that a relative unknown becomes the talk of the comedy cognoscenti so quickly, but Liz Kingsman, best known as a member of culty sketch group Massive Dad, is making major waves with her dazzlingly inventive solo debut, One-Woman Show.
A few minutes into a performance that straddles stand-up and theatre and this is already outstanding. The opening introductory monologue swiftly demonstrates how textured and multi-layered this piece is. As Kingsman talks politely about being risky, sexy and having agency and not enough women telling their stories onstage she is, probably, being simultaneously both sincere and sardonic.
The key reference to this character-based work is Fleabag, which coincidentally previewed at this venue before becoming a phenomenon. Kingsman shamelessly parodies Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s nameless persona, frequently breaking the fourth wall as she plays an anonymous Londoner working for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, mainly looking at ducks on Instagram plus bits of marketing.
This narcissistic creation is a relatable modern metropolitan woman. Commuting with her Monzo card, clubbing, drinking, a little bit manic pixie dream girl, still hanging out with her college bestie who always has a roll-up on the go. It is an achingly accurate portrayal of tropes everyone should recognise.
What follows is a witty, whistle stop tour through Kingsman’s everywoman trying-to-get-your-shit-together life and loves. Forming relationships, trying to be spontaneous and chaotic because after all, television, film and literature tells us that makes you more attractive doesn’t it? It is a breathless, blistering, pitch-perfect comic critique of contemporary archetypes and modern manners.
Add to this some verbal and visual laugh-out-loud gags, interpretative dance, unexpected poetry, ice cream and a meta self-referential set-up where you are never quite sure what is planned and what is off-script and you have something thoroughly distinctive. The only two recent comedians as genre-mashing are award-winners Jordan Brookes and Catherine Cohen.
This is social satire at its absolute finest that more than lives up to expectations. Someone clearly didn’t fritter away their lockdown downtime. Extra dates have just been added but will no doubt soon sell out. Do everything legal that you can think of to bag a ticket.
To January 15, 020 7478 0100, sohotheatre.com