Naomi Paul does not so much make light of topics as make them dull. This bizarre piece, which defines itself as both comedy and theatre, is made up of anecdotal narratives and comments which are of less than anecdotal interest.
The piece as a whole is as terribly put together as each individual element.
Part of Paul’s problem is her decision to maintain deadpan delivery throughout the performance. Whilst I am sure that this is a considered artistic decision, her observational style does not suit such monotonous presentation. Deadpan delivery can be incredibly effective, but it is a hard technique to get right and requires top quality writing. Unfortunately, Paul has neither the stage presence nor the material to pull it off.
Not only does Paul fail to be funny: she also fails to be interesting. The audience sits in an awkward silence as she recites stories with no narrative drive and makes a limp attempt at addressing topical issues. The three songs performed in Making Light, each a social commentary, are neither amusing nor insightful. Paul sings (badly) of library closures and political hypocrisy, spouting well-worn clichés entirely lacking in wit. The music is as poorly composed as the lyrics are sung, whilst the choruses are so long and unmemorable that it is impossible as an audience member to meet Paul’s request to join in.
The piece as a whole is as terribly put together as each individual element. Incredibly brief musical interludes are used between anecdotes. Given that Paul’s stories and musings are all spoken from her perspective and driven by narrative, the use of this device serves only to sever her stories and disrupt the flow of the piece, preventing the audience from becoming invested in anything Paul has to say.
At one point, Paul informs us that when attempting to attend a creative writing course, she accidentally showed up for a flirting course instead. I left this show wishing desperately that she had not missed the former.