Lara A. King has been coming to the Fringe for twenty years in innumerable guises and with various different acts. This year she returns as the reigning winner of the 2011 Funny Women competition and her prize is an eight-day run at the Assembly’s Bosco tent in George Square Gardens. Tents are a bit of a theme of the show – from her self-deprecating description of her outfit to the large VW Camper van tent that forms the backdrop and the Bosco tent itself. Such a multi-layered analogy is equally applicable to King herself, for she is far from being a one-dimensional performer. Comic, musician, singer, raconteur - this is a woman with many talents to showcase. Showcase them she does, to the great amusement of her audience.
King is a naturally gifted people pleaser. A personality test at the Job Centre told her so and the reactions of her audience confirm the diagnosis. She has a very relaxed and informal manner on stage, as at ease chatting with the audience as she is seamlessly slipping into song. The songs are a real strength of King’s performance. She has a beautiful voice and her word-smithery is both ingenious and, at times, a bit rubbish – making it all the more amusing. My only regret was that there wasn’t more singing in the mid-section of the show. Her comedic style is gently observational and her delivery style effortless and affable. Akin to a chilled-out Victoria Wood, hairdressers, Italian restaurants and kinesiologists are among the diverse subjects in her sights - all ripe for parody and mockery. There are some slightly laboured moments here and there as she finds her stride at times, but this is a confident performance overall.
People Pleaser is not edgy, hardcore comedy and it makes no apologies for being what it is. This is gentle and generous comedy that whisks its audience along as the jokes flow. You would be hard-pushed to find a happier hour at lunchtime. Witty, charming and very funny – People Pleaser is a real gem of a show.