Lizzie Bates: Reprobates
  • By Kyung Oh
  • |
  • 15th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★

Lizzie Bates is a wildly imaginative comedian who has created a stunning array of characters for a fun hour of comedy. The show opens in a post-apocalyptic bunker, where Bates plays a zany and slightly mad woman who has appointed herself as entertainments officer for a group of tired and disinterested survivors. She harangues them for participation, and berates ‘Bob’ for his indiscreet positioning of his bathrobe.

Although her characters are wide-ranging in variety, there is still something common running through all of them, something recurring in the way that Bates tries to produce laughs.

The show is kept lively and engaging as Bates involves a different audience member for each new sketch. She hands over a pair of boxing gloves to an audience member before becoming his hilariously keen and hapless coach during a match; she picks another to become a pupil at a Swiss finishing school, of which she is the prim and proper mistress. This audience participation, while focusing our attention, never makes us feel uncomfortable, and Bates is indeed always the larger-than-life character that is the butt of the jokes.

I feel I must point out that the volume of laughs - from myself and the audience overall - was not quite as high as befits a truly successful comedy show, despite Bates’s talent and the variety of her characters. Although her characters are wide-ranging in variety, there is still something common running through all of them, something recurring in the way that Bates tries to produce laughs. The jokes depend mostly on Bates becoming an otherworldly character, and on us being invited to laugh at her characters’ woeful lack of self-awareness. I think Bates would benefit from finding a way to shake up this aspect of her comedy, because her creativity and acting skills are already very impressive. Overall, I very much enjoyed this show and it has the makings of becoming an outstanding act.

Reviews by Kyung Oh

Underbelly, Cowgate

Before Us

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Men in the Cities

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Years to the Day

★★
theSpace on Niddry St

Can't Stay Away!

Summerhall

Snoutology for Beginners

★★★★
C venues - C

The Road to Skibbereen

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Riotous character comedy from Bafta Rocliffe winner 2013 and member of critically-acclaimed sketch group The Boom Jennies (BBC Radio 4). Meet Paula, who won't get out of her neighbour's hot tub for love nor money, Hildegard, the Swiss finishing school mistress with a fetish for fast food, and Judith, the doctor's receptionist who won't let patients past without a thumb war. Packed with endearing everyday rebels, this is a bold, ballsy and highly-anticipated debut - not to be missed. ‘Future of British Comedy' (Bafta). 'Delightfully silly' (Daily Telegraph). ***** 'Hilarious' (Argus). 'A big future' (Guardian).