Despite coming across as likeable and charming, Romina Puma’s stand-up set doesn’t provoke too many laughs. Her overarching theme of political correctness is overdone and falls a little flat.
Puma is refreshingly candid, and jokes about her disability with sometimes shocking frankness
Puma starts the show with an outraged audience review from last year’s Fringe, accusing her of being disrespectful to the disabled. Puma has muscular dystrophy, so can reasonably choose how she wishes to refer to her own condition. However, despite her assurances that we shouldn’t be fixated on words and language when speaking about disability, some audience members may be put on edge by her use of words like “cripple” and “retard”. Puma goes on to complain that terms like “able-bodied” and “disabled toilet” are censored by the “political correctness brigade” when most people use them without batting an eyelid, making the humour seem pedantic rather than controversial.
Concluding with an audience quiz on the politically correct version of several terms, which felt oddly like a test to see if we’d been paying attention, Puma’s seemed an obscure and slightly irrelevant campaign.
The other topics Puma used to bulk up her set were often uninspiring. Her “isn’t it annoying when…” section offers little original material, and some jokes about suicide seem to come from nowhere and jar. Her enjoyably vulgar streak was hampered by overly nonchalant delivery, and she had the opposite problem of being too shouty during her comic rants. Puma is refreshingly candid though, and jokes about her disability with sometimes shocking frankness.
There’s nothing to seriously dislike about Puma’s set, but with so many stand-ups at the Fringe it doesn’t feel significantly fresh to stand out. For a free show at midday in a small venue though, you could do worse.