Rhea bounds onto stage in a flash of fuchsia and sparkly beads, hair accessories a-twinkle. Eyeing up the crowd, she coaxes them into an enthusiastic rendition of Sweet Caroline with a cry of ‘pretend you’re not Scottish for a minute, pretend you’re American!’.
Despite a twenty-five year stand up career that’s seen her tour the New York comedy scene, appear on Curb Your Enthusiasm and meet the US President, she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of the slightly wacky Aunt Hilda in the 90s television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. A quick check with the crowd confirms this and she indulges them with a few recollections from her Sabrina days.
However, anyone who attended purely out of Sabrina-led curiosity will have left in no doubt of Rhea’s comic abilities. She is absolutely at her best when interacting with the crowd. In these moments she displays not only her lightning quick wit, but also her well-rounded intelligence: throwing in a dash of Spanish when she encounters a trilingual audience member, and crafting a joke about conjugating Latin verbs as quick as a flash.
Her prepared material is a bit of a mixed bag, though, ranging from tear-sheddingly funny to slightly drawn out and predictable. This being said, the tailored Scot-centric material went down particularly well; she managed to hit just the right level of gentle chiding without drifting into dangerously insulting or tired clichés.
By and large a great evening’s entertainment that will leave you springing down the steps of Gilded Balloon and humming Sweet Caroline for at least another twenty four hours.