From a small attic room in the Counting House, Jane Hill is on a mission to prove that she is not the ‘lovely’ lady in a cardigan which review after review has branded her as in the past. Through a series of joyful confessions, Hill does a great job of showing off her inner cow, but even now I feel like she’s secretly trying hard to please.
Jane Hill is flawed, just like the rest of us, and listening to a seemingly serene and collected individual disclose these flaws is a real relief.
A flip chart takes prominent place as the method used for keeping track of the show: Hill actively encourages shout-outs in response to her anecdotes that help gauge the feeling in the room, but this has the very real danger of backfiring if it continues to affect the pace of the set. For example, there are several occurrences of unnatural pauses that are clearly being held in anticipation of an interruption, and every shout-out is met with a “thank you” that belies a restrainedly polite nature, regardless of any attempts to convince us otherwise. It’s a nice idea, however, and the atmosphere in the room is so relaxed that it’s one of the most successful pieces of audience interaction that I’ve seen so far.
The examples of bad behaviour do get noticeably darker as the show progresses, and if intentional, it’s a great structural decision that could be perhaps incorporated more heavily into the set. At the beginning we are inclined to disagree with Hill’s insistence that she is a “cow” – but by the end there’s no such protest.
This is a highly relatable show for anyone who has ever felt fed up of being invisible. Whether it’s barging your way through a busy London street or sitting up and telling the patronising do-gooders where to go, Hill’s entertaining tales are an empowering experience in many ways and a refreshing reminder not to judge a book by its cover.
Jane Hill is flawed, just like the rest of us, and listening to a seemingly serene and collected individual disclose these flaws is a real relief. She’s not lovely, but she’s certainly not a cow: I’ll leave the rest for you to judge.