Arguing with idiots is how Kate Smurthwaite describes her profession as a left-wing political activist. When it comes to political stand up comedy, The News at Kate is the cream of the crop. A fixture at the Fringe since 2009, this year's focus falls on political opinions; where we get them from, how we make them heard, and how to have the final word when called upon to defend these views.
Smurthwaite discusses her experiences in the media, and the tactics that she employs to breeze through even the most aggressive debates. For example, being an atheist on The Big Questions, which is mostly occupied with theological issues, is of no consequence. Less momentous a subject, but alternately monumentally funny, is TV’s Dawn Porter and her many misadventures. We explore her hypocrisies, a stab or two at feminism, and the mighty Smurthwaite versus Porter debate at the Women of the World festival 2012, boldly taking on the true big questions in life, such as sparkly vaginas.
Also brilliantly self-deprecating, she paints a hilarious portrait of home life with the 'witch' of her critics' creation, and introduces us to the surprisingly likeable 'Extreme Kate', or megaphone-wielding beast of Tory nightmares, who bawls wildly at the opposition. This is hugely entertaining in its own right, as all her aggressive shouting is made up of entirely valid and sensible points.
The show is not just about being a badass however; the infinitely wise and resourceful internet once again impresses us as the main authority on opinion-forming. The show is structured around a wikiHow step-by-step guide, through which Smurthwaite tells us many an example of ill-founded opinions and utter rubbish set loose in the mass media.
The humour is witty as hell, dealing as coolly with sex as with the hottest of topical debates. There's a great deal of brilliant nonsense in there too, including impersonations of Tory MP Nadine Dorries and the highs and lows of fan mail (as well as hate mail). Bang-on humour, big topics and easygoing delivery make this top-quality stand-up from a lady who knows a thing or two about making an impact.