Dana Alexander: Is This Really Happening?

Multimedia can be a tricksy thing. Done well, we're taken into a different dimension of comedy, a place where the term 'power-point presentation' doesn't make us think of bad history lessons at all and instead serves to back up what the comedian is saying, adding to it, illustrating it. Done badly, those history lessons all come flooding back.

It was with trepidation then that I sat through the first few minutes of Dana Alexander's show Is This Really Happening? An incredibly talented comedian, with an unique outlook on life owing to the fact that this Canadian, with Jamaican heritage, now lives in Tottenham. Alexander takes us back to her North American origins with a series of images from her past: a kind of This Is My Life, though I wasn't aware she was going anywhere.

Any comedy routine is propped up by some kind of structure, but here Alexander's seems like more of a back-brace than a crutch. Forced to run through her life in a very linear fashion, we hear a discussion of Disney Princesses which, though amusing, has been thrown around the internet for years already. A sequence in which Alexander asks the audience to identify classic TV theme tunes is highly dependent on the crowd's age and habits as a child. Most of the time, it flopped ('You're readers, aren't you?') and, while providing more than a little nostalgia, it felt distinctly like a round in a pub quiz and not part of a comedy show.

When given free reign on her material, Alexander is riotously funny. This is her saving grace between overly-structured sections and her audience interaction is kind and quick-witted. However, the fact that she spends a considerable amount of time sitting down and clicking through slides says something of the energy provided by this multimedia gimmick. Her life story is interesting and told very well, but it could do with more movement and laughter and less plaster holding it all together.

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The Blurb

Sometimes things are so strange you know they would be impossible to make up. Dana Alexander tries to understand the madness surrounding her.