Susan Calman: Lady Like

Eight years since her Fringe debut, Susan Calman reflects on her Fringe journey, noting the packed 300+ room that she’s playing to during this performance is a far cry from how it all started. She’s certainly come a long way from the days of having to share a toilet queue with members of her own audience.

This was a well-structured and enjoyable hour, but felt like some of the darker themes that Calman touched on got skipped over and not fully explored.

As a proud and out lesbian working for BBC radio Calman extracts humour from the responses to her sexualty she gets from some of the conservative listeners. To laugh at the ridiculousness of people being offended by homosexuality in 2014 feels healing. We hear about the antics on adventure shows on Dave, and honeymoon ideas gone wrong. Calman has many an amusing anecdote to share.

Calman extracts a lot of comedy from self-deprecation, though this show goes a little further into Calman’s perceptions of herself beyond purely surface mockery. The title Lady Like is a pleasurable play on words; the show is not, as one might guess, a story of trying to achieve femininity, but more about her personal journey to like herself more. Interspersed between more recent anecdotes Calman gives us an insight into her difficult childhood. It was the start of a life of always being, to some extent, an outsider.

Calman briefly alludes to her lowest point during her teens. Maybe it was difficult to talk about, but this moment seemed to be important in shaping the journey Calman has been on, and I was left wondering how she came back from the brink at this point in her life and continued on.

This was a well-structured and enjoyable hour, but felt like some of the darker themes that Calman touched on got skipped over and not fully explored. Calman is not the only comedian to be talking about depression at the Fringe, so if it’s going to be dealt with, I feel like it needs to be fleshed out, or left out altogether.

This is a gentle and warm hour of comedy, played to an appreciative audience clearly containing Calman’s fan base. Calman is a competent and charismatic performer and you could do worse than get along to this Fringe offering.

Reviews by Alanta Colley

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The Blurb

Susan's back at the Fringe with a brand new show. If you've seen her before, Lady Like is a reassuring hour spent with the woman her neighbours call ‘the mad cat lady’. If you don't know who she is, the show will definitely make you feel better about your own life. The show's about a lot of things, but it's best not to spoil the surprise. Comedy from Calman, as seen and heard on QI, The News Quiz, Calman is Convicted, HIGNFY, Fresh Meat and Would I Lie To You. ‘Confident, compact ... cracking.’ (Evening Standard).