Stephanie Laing is Chesney Hawkes’ number one fan. Chesney Hawkes – the pop heartthrob of
Stephanie Laing’s tales of shame both delight and disgust.
‘I’ve decided I’m not very good at talking to humans’, she admits, before stroking an audience member’s beard. With constant fidgeting and a minimal-effort look, Laing is at times uncomfortable to watch. At others she produces random moments of hilarity.
Silly and self-deprecating, her set pivots around her shame-o-meter, a concept-turned-prop that tracks how embarrassing her sex dreams and drunken nights are.
The alcohol anecdotes feel cheap and unoriginal – after all, everyone’s got them – but most of Laing’s gags are hilariously weird. She spends a good part of her set singing a song about a newt whilst simultaneously playing the flute, before progressing onto the more serious matter of ducks in trees.
Visual cues abound; Laing pulls out photos of her as a child, lifts up her shirt to reveal an off-centre tattoo, and peaks when playing a video that Chesney Hawkes has sent TO HER. It was a divisive set. Both brilliantly bizarre and borderline disgusting, Laing bores a few and riotously entertains a few more.
If the humour peaks with Chesney Hawkes on video, it troughs when she asks the audience if she should go ahead with a threesome. Nearing the end of the hour, the show starts to feel unwritten. The conversation goes on for too long to not end with a punchline and her outro is self-confessedly bathetic and unfinished.
Stephanie Laing’s tales of shame both delight and disgust. Whilst Nincompoop is enjoyable in its adult immaturity, it feels slightly too rough to be ready for an audience. Luckily this is the Free Fringe: go along and see whether you’re won over or thrown aback.