Canadian comic Mae Martin is workshopping a new show at this year’s Fringe, using the audience as guinea pigs to try out some new material. It’s very informal, with Martin chatting away and telling stories as though she were speaking to her mates, but this works with her own quirky and endearing stage personality. She’s someone whom you feel you might really quite like to be friends with.
There are some great moments here, Martin is clearly one to watch.
Martin’s homeland of Canada proves to be fertile comic territory and her impressions of the strange Canadian women she grew up around give rise to a few good laughs; there’s definitely scope for development here as she touches on the cultural differences between her adopted and home countries only for the briefest of moments.
A large part of the material, and that which works best, is based on Martin’s own childhood; Martin claims that Canadians are over-sharers who are in the business of making the British feel uncomfortable and she is only too happy to continue this trend. Her parents loom large: her mother in particular is the inspiration behind many of Martin’s amusing anecdotes. Martin has some excruciatingly embarrassing stories to recount as a result, most memorably those which concern her early sex education and the mythical aftermath of orgasm; sadly Martin’s mother set her up for a lifetime of disappointment in that regard.
Sex, dating and relationships are a recurrent theme, and Martin has developed a good story involving her online dating profile. She admits to having dated both men and women and once or twice brings up the theme of sexuality and labels. It’s clearly something she’s interested in and passionate about, and there is the sense that this could be the ground for some interesting new material.
Martin could work more on linking each anecdote so that it flows more smoothly into the next, but that will come with time and practice as she works out the arc she wants her show to take. There are some great moments here, Martin is clearly one to watch.