Loretta Maine is a mess. Her hair is dishevelled, her make-up is smeared and her clothes are all over the shop. With a slight twang, she slurs her way through her hour-show, on stage downstairs at the Soho theatre. Loretta Maine is a mess, but she is also brilliant, a fantastic and original creation of Brit character comedian Pippa Evans.

Loretta’s persona is direct, angry, unstable and ever so slightly terrifying. She both commands and demands full attention as she swigs white wine from screw top bottles. She keeps the audience on their toes as she opens with the titular "Bipolar" and introduces her two-man backing band, "Penis Envy".

Song titles include "Isn’t Love A Funny Thing? (Cock Sucking Mother Fucker)", and "These Ain’t My Tits". Her lyrics are sharp, funny and uncouth. She also does a great song about her grandmother on a banjo, but if your grandmother is of the less murderous persuasion, don’t introduce her to Loretta.

However, underneath the offensive language and intoxicated shenanigans lies very intelligent comedy, making observations of modern London life (she does a great sketch about teenage pregnancy in Lambeth) and the way women behave and are treated. Loretta Maine doesn’t go full political feminist but she mocks society’s reluctance to just call the female genitalia a vagina and sings about the White Wine Witch who comes out after bottle number three.

She flirts with men and bonds with women in the audience – even though she admits to passive-aggressively updating her Facebook status with a non-cryptic message when a female friend has stood her up. Audience interaction is aided by screen projections that also illustrate some of the songs and sketches. Loretta stays in character constantly and consistently and is hilarious even when improvising: she smirks after an audience takes her up on a dare to count to 20 while she downs a bottle, and even follows through; although she fails quite miserably (but deserves an A for effort).

Her varied and sometimes improvised songs show off her musical brilliance, going on to blow the audience away by belting out Whitney Houston in the grand finale; this woman can really sing! Christian Tom and Beefcake (her trusty backing band) are also part of the comedy. These two lanky fellows are perfect sidekicks, whose full potential is reached when they can play straight.

Yet throughout the show there is little doubt who fronts this group. Don’t be fooled by the smudged eyeliner, the holes in her tights or the sleazy alcoholic anecdotes: Loretta Maine is a great talent, and you can’t help but laugh at her misery.

Reviews by Clarissa Widya

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The Blurb

Troubled and embittered songstress, Loretta Maine returns to the Soho Theatre with an hour of amazing sexy woe. Following a sell out, critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with her new band ‘PenisEnvy’, Loretta is back in London armed with a suitcase of wine, new songs to sing, new tales to tell and new pain to unleash.

Featuring songs including “These Ain’t My Tits” and the infamous “Chicken Shop”, Bipolar sees Loretta explore the two sides of her personality: angry and REALLY ANGRY. Expect awesome tunes, self-harming, cheap eyeliner, the smell of damp and lots of screw top wine.

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