Despite announcing that she wanted to kill a journalist who referred to her as a ‘mumedian’ in a pre-Fringe interview, Lucy Porter puts on a decidedly maternal show. There were still jokes aplenty to be found on gigs, drinking and abortion clinics, but the big sister vibe was gone, and in its place motherhood reigned. That’s not to say the show trod all too familiar ground – it was perhaps purposeful that the words ‘yummy mummy’, already a hackneyed cliché, never made an entrance. Instead, Porter attempts to cover more common parental experiences, online shopping and BBC 1 morning television featuring heavily.
With the move towards maternity there is also a lurch towards middle age and grown-up-ness that sits strangely but endearingly with Porter’s sometimes childish enthusiasm. A couple of nineteen year olds in the front row found themselves gently patronised throughout, and her descriptions of working on Richard and Judy brought about a chuckle of recollection as well as recognition. However, Porter’s take on her own children is hilarious and brilliantly up-to-date – her 18 month old daughter Emily certainly has a voice of her own.
If Porter had any first night nerves they weren’t visible, and she easily built a rapport with the audience that seemed equally affectionate on both sides. There can be no doubt that a great many of Porter’s fans will enjoy her shift in subject delivered with her familiar sweet irreverence. Certainly there was no negative reaction to an early chide about laughing at the possibility of gay boyfriends in 2012 – though Porter later got significant mileage herself out of several lesbian jokes.
There are parts of the routine that need trimming – a section on the Argos website, though funny, takes a little too long to reach the real punchline. For the most part though, Porter pulls off an entertaining look at middle class parenting without alienating her audience. It’s not ground-breaking stuff, and not aimed at younger audiences, but Porter has the people skills to pull it off. However, if she really wants to do away with the ‘mumedian’ title, not giving out cupcakes at the end might be a good start.