Imagine a one-night stand you had resulted in a pregnancy and four months later you started a relationship off the back of it. Imagine, after having the baby, that relationship was going well – unusually well. Imagine the unspoken insecurities you’d have about it. Now imagine how fertile a topic it would make for a comedy show.
Behind the gauzy presentation of the show is a sharp and insightful mind mining a deep vein of comedy in the modern social anxieties it both suffers and deplores.
That’s exactly what happened to Jessie Cave, and that’s exactly what she’s done, channelling every social media-fuelled worry into an enthralling mix of storytelling, puppetry, impersonation and, yes, even a little interpretive dance. I Loved Her is an eminently creative offering that triumphs in giving voice to every Millennial anxiety under the cyber-sun via Cave’s distinct and precarious persona.
Opening her show with a series of candid revelations about herself, Cave immediately plunges into endearingly neurotic character. She doesn’t dance at parties, because she’s too good; she deletes bad selfies from her camera roll and then deletes them again from the deleted section, so they never existed; she spends hours just looking at the three dots on iMessage.
There’s an air of flippant disorganisation to the proceedings which belies the show’s tight structure: ‘Now I’m going to do a shadow puppetry section’, says Cave, before wandering over to a basic setup involving a taut sheet, a backlight and cardboard cutouts, and comprehensively whisking us through her serendipitous tale.
Five minutes later she’s up again, holding out hand-drawn masks to facilitate reenactments of ‘dialogue’ with adults, and imaginary conversations with her baby. Then she’s lifting the lid from her brain and showing us what lurks inside: what she thinks her boyfriend gets up to when he says he’s at the pub; what his ex-girlfriends (and ex-wife) must all be like.
Behind the gauzy presentation of the show is a sharp and insightful mind mining a deep vein of comedy in the modern social anxieties it both suffers and deplores. The complexity of the dot-to-dot material unsurprisingly has Cave hesitating once or twice – this script is almost a piece of theatre, just with unforgiving narrative leaps – but the picture she builds up over the course of the hour ends up being all the richer for it.