Charmian Hughes is on a mission to save the world. Taking the audience on a light-hearted journey through the apocalypse, Hughes uses the various ways our world could collapse around us as a springboard for wider material. The structure is clearly well thought through, with the material never feeling tenuous or distant from the overarching plot of the show. A greater effort, however, could have been placed on making smoother transitions between segments, as the show often feels too stop-and-start. As a result rapport with the audience is lost from breaks in the flow. Also affecting this is a tendency to cut jokes short, belying a lack of confidence in the strength of her punchlines.
There are some clever additions to the show; a particular favourite saw the audience pulled into playing dreadful parlour games from 1912. Perfectly suited to the intimate atmosphere, I felt that more commitment to moving the audience around and engaging with the games would have made for an entertaining and unique experience. As it was this section was skated over. Likewise more could have been done with the ‘teenage diary’, which lacked in gradual build up to draw us into the absurd story.
Rearing its ugly head among the innovative sections of the show is the tired cliché of the overweight female comedian. Too many jokes are made on this subject which, like a suffering dog, is in desperate need of being put down. Despair quickly turned to horror, however, at the announcement of the closing part of the set. More uncomfortable than entertaining, this was certainly not a happy note to finish on.
The set pieces are the true meat of the show and more time should have been spent on developing these, as the generic stand-up elements are fairly weak. Much of the comedy here arose from Hughes’ apologies, which, though well delivered and endearing her to the audience, really should not be the most amusing part of a joke.