Smashing the hetero-patriarchy with occasional assistance from the audience, Annabelszki provided a smorgasbord of stand-up, sketch comedy and spoken word to an appreciative audience. But was this a show or a political rally? A question that remained unanswered by the end.
Deftly delivered and well-written
An audience who pay to see a show described as ‘smashing the hetero-patriachy’ are likely to be easily pleased by moments that, for example, call attention to inequalities in women’s pay, or period poverty. Suffice to say, the underlying material won't be particularly difficult to come up with. But it’s the delivery of the material where Smashing stutters and becomes hit and miss. Hits certainly included the self-penned poems, whilst a miss was the sing-a-long to a re-written Oliver’s Pick-a-Pocket or Two.
The very nature of a show of this type means that some parts will end up being be more successful than others, with Annabelszki’s own spoken word seemingly the most popular. Poems on subjects ranging from period pain to shaving were deftly delivered and well-written, with pleasing choruses to return to alongside a narrative verse. It was clear that Annabelszki was confident in both her material and her abilities as a stand-up. Certainly one of the highlights of the show.
Sketch comedy came in the form of a double-act featuring a mute audience participant on stage alongside dialogue played through a speaker. It was always going to be tricky to time the recorded line delivery to match with Annabelszki’s pace, and the notable difference between a live actor speaking and a pre-recorded answer meant this was destined to struggle. Perhaps Annabelszki should find someone willing to be in a double-act with – from last night’s audience, I’m sure there would be plenty of volunteers.
Annabelszki has the energy and enthusiasm for her subject matter to make this an enjoyable show, and there was creative depth in the mélange of different styles of delivering the message. However simply having strong strong themes from the underlying issues isn’t enough to create a successful show – and some of the sections should have been dropped at the ‘Work in Progress’ stage. There’s an enthusiastic show here, with a challenging topic to turn into comedy – but ultimately a comedy needs to land the laughs and have people talking, not only about the topics raised but also the jokes and routines that should make it a memorable evening.