And Now for a Nice Evening With Wallan

There was a fashionable word in the 1950s for a certain type of female performer, which was ‘kooky’. These ladies, such as Libby Morris and Dorothy Loudon, built their acts around being breathless, scatty and disorganised,, then turned in blinding performances as serious vocalists. Liza Minelli is probably the last of that line.

Lou Sanders is kooky but she can’t sing, save for tiny off-key fragments which are an excuse for more self-deprecation. Her stand-up act, which is frugal on jokes, consists largely on a running commentary on her performance, her material, and her audience: ‘We’ve got silent laughers in. Pick it up. Smilers are no good to me.’ It’s a way of spinning out material to fill an act, pioneered by the late, great Max Wall, who knew how to do it properly.

Her delivery is throwaway - so throwaway that it throws away the laughs as well. It opens with great energy, on roller skates with a megaphone, then tops this with a fine visual joke about trying to mimic a Shirley Bassey entrance down a glass staircase, using only a stepladder. However, from then on it’s downhill.

Stand-up depends both on audience rapport and on energy levels. The rapport is broken by three tacky videos which break the contact. The energy goes with rather pointless character sketches in uncertain accents and lacking punchlines or, indeed, point. There are good one-liners but they are few and far between.

The word used most often for Sanders is ‘surreal’. It is, but of a kind of surrealism which is forced and self-conscious. It’s an acquired taste, rather like French mime. To paraphrase Winston Churchill on Clement Attlee, it’s a modest act with much to be modest about.

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Return of the Soldier

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Eye of a Needle

★★★★
Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

In The Heights

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Imagine your favourite thing, replace it with this show. Great highs, no real lows, all begins with a really nice walk. ‘She rips it, always ensures a memorable live performance’ (Sun).

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets