Helen Keen: Robot Woman of Tomorrow

Helen Keen is an endearing comic; her relationship with her audience is something like that between a kooky favourite teacher and an indulged sixth form group. Complete with power-points and informative biographies, the whole show feels a bit like an illicit General Studies lesson on science fiction. Illicit because both Keen and the audience engaged with the idea that topics including sex robots, the invention of the photocopier and feminist felons were off-the-wall topics for mid-afternoon comedy. The incorporation of shadow puppets adds to the feeling that Keen prefers things a little different.

Sometimes, however, the show drifts too close to being a lesson or lecture and there are lengthy silences without a joke or laugh, just interesting and amusing true stories. Keen has some great moments of found comedy: reading aloud from an inappropriate fanfiction; videos of ‘big dog’; and some apt observations on book covers. However, the spaces between these could benefit from some more humour - the stories are interesting and enthusiastically told, but they don’t earn any belly laughs.

Keen’s show may seem niche, being firmly geared towards geek culture and those who enjoy science fiction in particular, but the full and friendly audience demonstrated that the geek niche has widened to encompass young and old. She’s charming, welcoming and more than slightly weird so if you fancy the best rambling lesson of your life, make Helen Keen your Robot Woman for tomorrow.

Reviews by Frankie Goodway

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The Blurb

Creator and star of BBC Radio 4's It Is Rocket Science fuses stand-up, science fiction and shadow puppetry to transport you (at least an hour) into The Future… ‘Quirky, offbeat, original (Sunday Times). www.helenkeen.com.

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