Louisa Fitzhardinge’s magnum opus, Comma Sutra, promises to twang on the heartstrings of all us self-appointed vigilante protectors of the fundamental principles of the English Language. Please note, recipients of pedantry, we prefer this term to ‘Grammar Nazi’. She walks on stage looking the part – complete with comma brooch and punctuation-filled tights – and has an instant likeability that will appeal to anyone who chooses this show with even the slightest inkling of its premise.
Seekers of intellectual stimulation and sapiophiles across the Fringe should unite and join her queue.
Over the course of the next hour, Fitzhardinge delights her audience with a series of songs, sketches and lessons on the intricacies of the language she authentically worships. She performs a range of sexy and educational songs, some to original tunes, some to recognisable pieces from popular culture, from Cole Porter to Avenue Q and the highest selling single of the 2012 UK charts (yes, even her review comes with trivia!). Louisa connects well with her audience and provides enjoyable interactions with her pianist John, who is employed effectively to drive some sketches as well as the keys. The finale to the show provides endless fun, and perfectly demonstrates her breadth of skills as a performer, and unquestionable intellectual capacity, and it is worth going for this extravaganza alone.
If you’re expecting a comedy show that will have you rolling in the aisles, then I’d advise lowering your expectations. While Fitzhardinge is an immensely likeable and amusing performer, there are few laugh-out-loud moments here, and Comma Sutra might fit more neatly under the bracket of cabaret than comedy.
Fitzhardinge has an infectious personality with a lovely singing voice and a well written show. It’s hard to take exception to her, despite handling material that another performer might wield with arrogance. It’s certainly not going to be for everybody, but if it’s not for you then you’ll know that from the show description. If you think it might be up your street, then it almost certainly will be. In its star, younger audience members can find inspiration in a new role model and older generations will leave wishing she were their granddaughter. Seekers of intellectual stimulation and sapiophiles across the Fringe should unite and join her queue. I’ll be there at the front.