It was the 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist and theologian known to the English-speaking world as Rumi who said that ‘travel brings power and love back into your life’. It certainly made something of a difference to the journalist and ‘migrated daughter of Yorkshire’ Nadia Brooks who last year went on a 6,000 mile road-trip round America, in the process escaping her small apartment in LA (the trigger being the Alan Bennett-esque vision of an old Jaffa Cake left under her Ikea sofa-bed) and her well-meaning Gran's totally groundless match-making with the actor Jake Gyllenhaal. With a 1980s upbringing dominated by US films and television – she admits to having a fixation on Knight Rider and ‘The Hoff’– Brooks quickly discovered that much of the US of A looks exactly like a movie set, though one significantly lacking the presence of a director to shout ‘Cut!’ when things get scary. Though, as becomes clear, the wannabe serial killers were clearly outnumbered by some very genuine and loving people.
Clearly, Brooks is not by profession a performer, even if she did unintentionally end up playing a waitress in a indie movie she'd offered to work on as a script supervisor. She is, though, an open and unaffected speaker. Given her career background, the show is well written and – an attempt at audience participation notwithstanding – successfully holds together much better than you might expect from what could potentially have been little more than an arbitrary succession of fleeting anecdotes.
It's a shame that some of her comedy riffs don't really hit you full on. Brooks is just a tad too self-conscious and self-depreciating for her own good, but by the end of the show there's a satisfactory reminder of the true value of perseverance, trust and belief in ourselves that warms the heart, even early in the morning.