Camden Fringe 2012
As one half of comedy double act,
Forthright in manner and in purpose, Leisa Rea is at once wry and engaging. She sits herself down on stage behind a table and in front of a projector screen – her interactive aid for the evening whenever she wants to expound upon a point. Looking up and down from a notebook on the table she admits to never having performed the show before, not even in front of herself, followed by the passing quip: “If you do need to label me, tosspot will do”.
It’s a bit all over the place as a piece of stand-up/sitting down comedy, but this doesn’t seem to matter. It wouldn’t suit her character or her methods if this were otherwise. One assumes Rea is at her best when she’s her natural haphazard self – a trait she woos and turns into comedy with an ample supply of self-deprecation.
The content is topical if a bit surreal, and highly imaginative. She covers everything from Attention Deficit Disorder to The Leveson Inquiry, to the tale of a demonic former maths teacher, a particular woman at a bustop, and a rather befuddled pizza delivery man. There’s also a digression into classical drama – Eugene O’Neill and Chekhov both receive a mention – and Sophocles is updated as Rea rearranges Oedipus Rex to fit her very own unique brand of humour. A winning moment is her spirited hero-worship of Alfred Hitchcock and her ‘Strangers on a Tube’ scenario in which she casts her own designs on the cinematic classic.
There are some funny ‘dance with me’ moments in which she takes up moshing, and her audience are keen to participate even without her asking for their participation, giving testament to her quality as a performer. After taking time out to regress on, amongst other things, a typing dog, a banking centipede, and “my inner critics”, Rea has a few surprises in store for her finale.
It’s a very strong performance. She’s comfortable in taking centre stage and she’s original in her content. Slightly slapdash in parts but this is perhaps intended, and it doesn’t mar the quality of subject matter nor the wit and finesse with which the subject matter is imparted.