Rosie Jones has called her show Triple Threat and, before she gets stuck in, she teasingly explains why. “I’m gay, I’m disabled and I’m....” Well, no spoilers here, you will have to buy a ticket to discover the third threat. Trust me, it will be money well spent.
Jones delivers a beautifully crafted work divided into distinct stories that neatly link up. An early highlight is a confession that she wants to be a national treasure. There is just one issue. It seems to be a one-in-one-out club and David Attenborough, Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley don’t seem about to relinquish their membership cards just yet.
A longer anecdote concerns buying her first flat. The Yorkshire-bred comic, who has cerebral palsy, did not know London well so treated climbing the property ladder like a game of Monopoly, starting on the Old Kent Road. A self-mocking gag relates to the durability of boilers, a motif which returns to deliver added laughs later.
Elsewhere there is a tale of thwarted romance with a twist and an account of meeting somebody else with CP on a bus and doing a “disability nod” until realising that they have little else in common. She is particularly insightful on becoming an accidental activist, suddenly expected to deliver informed soundbites on random neurodiverse rock stars.
The best thing about this show however, apart from the fact that Jones oozes cheeky charm and smutty wit in equal measures, is that the jokes are so deceptively clever. Even when they seem simple, such as a quip regarding the kind of physically demanding programmes you won’t be seeing her on, they are multi-layered, pulling you in an unexpected direction.
On TV earlier this year, Jones talked touchingly about the horrendous abuse she receives online and in person. On stage she plays this down, although she does say that people come up to her and say, “I know you. You are on everything” and don’t mean it as a compliment. She is so skilled though, she flips an upsetting scenario like this into a sublime routine, claiming the last laugh.
This is a particularly strong week for Soho Theatre. Jones’ nightly set is followed by Ian Smith’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated Crushing, which takes in stress, love and driving a tank with your hairdresser. Catch both. Smith and Jones in one night sounds like a great comic double act.
Soho Theatre, October 7; sohotheatre.com