Catie Wilkins, or ‘sex-positive feminist on the go’ as she likes to refer to herself, is an unlikely comedian. Wilkins is noticeably shy, something she points out herself at the start of the show. Despite claiming to ‘get off on the peril of it’, her nerves do seem to get the better of her. Her awkward delivery tows a thin line between a lack of control and being endearing. Wilkins has a wry, sarcastic delivery and an understated, subtle humour which seemed to bypass some of the audience whilst making the rest of them laugh.
The concept for the show is that Wilkins’ middle-name, Joy, is incompatible with her miserable persona. Actually, Wilkins doesn’t seem that miserable and her exploration of nominative determinism is very funny. Her comedy is very perceptive on the effect of names and the influence they have on who we become and it helps that Wilkins also throws in some embarrassing photos of herself as a child for good measure.
Wilkins’ comedy is often surprisingly dark and sits uneasily with her doe-eyed appearance. She doesn’t seem like the kind of person to get up and tell jokes about AIDS or snaggletooth fellatio. Wilkins appears to be more confident when she has some props or slides to work from. She shows us some hilarious photos of inappropriately named products and also gets a fair bit of material out of retro sexist adverts for women. There’s also some ‘yo mamma’ jokes too, which never seem to get old.
Wilkins’ nerves reached their peak when she forgot one of her jokes. Luckily, she recovered from this well and it wasn’t enough to fully stunt the performance. Wilkins is so likeable that this blip really just makes you want to give her a big hug. It’s a real shame that Wilkins’ lack of confidence hinders her performance because she demonstrates so much potential. It’s mostly gentle, mildly feminist material, but there’s occasionally a spark of some more inventive humour waiting to burst out.
At the moment, Wilkins needs to become a more confident performer before she leaves a crowd in tears of laughter. Her material is promising though and it’s refreshing to see someone who is so painfully shy tackling comedy in this manner. She might not think she lives up to her middle name, but her comedy is certainly en-joy-able – it just needs a boost of confidence to turn it into something even more joyous.