biggest problem with Linda Smith is her name. It's just not cool
enough to be a comedian.
fertile, slightly unhinged imagination works ideas up into
a great comic turn."
immediate reaction when hearing her name is 'who?!' Having run through
my mental database of nondescript names, including Fred Bloggs,
John Doe ... and Des O'Connor, I finally remember that I saw her
once on Room 101 and Have I Got News For You and she made me laugh.
So why not see what she's like in the flesh when she visits Carlisle?
bit of a radio moron
I have to admit, I'm not cultural enough to listen to Radio 4 on
a regular basis, so I've only had limited exposure to Linda.
said that, it makes me more impartial ... a possible new convert,
but not afraid to dish the dirt if she didn't come up to scratch!
Get on with the review
pleased to say I really enjoyed it. She was on stage from 1930-2145,
with a 15 minute break between halves, and I take it as a good sign
that the time went really quickly.
the first part of the show she moved between the homely, observational
material that she does so well and political comment. The life-based
stuff went down much better with the audience, and I sense she decided
to stick with this in the second half as it was getting more laughs.
intelligent humour, in that you have to be on top of your cultural
and literary references to keep up with some of the gags, but it's
also extremely accessible too.
without the parka
just for Radio 4 listeners
Linda herself commented on the age range of the audience. I'd expected
them to be hardcore Radio 4 listeners - but there were older people
there, very young people and - um - 'youthful' people of my age.
Most of them were radio listeners though, as Linda herself determined.
to note that she swore about 5 times in 2 hours ... 4 x 'bloody'
and 1 x 'bastard' off the top of my head - but don't quote me on
this. I don't mind swearing in my comedy at all, but I'm always
interested to see how those who choose not to follow that path still
manage to hold an audience through effective story telling.
other thing Linda isn't frightened of is a pause. She's happy to
take her time to have a swig of water (it was hot and she needed
to!) or just relax in telling a story. She strikes me as a cross
between Victoria Wood (much less 'mumsy' though) Ben Elton (only
at times, during the political stuff) and Hattie Hayridge (played
Holly in 'Red Dwarf' - saw her in Hull once, thought her soft delivery
would get her eaten alive by the macho, Northern audience - but
was particularly impressed by the way she'd got to grips so quickly
with the local psyche ... and loved the routines about 'what happens
if you go to Keswick and want to buy indoor clothing?', 'who
would model a foodstuff on toothpaste (Kendal mint cake)' and 'how
we milk Hadrian's Wall for tourism'.
also took the mickey out of the venue as well. It's the first time
I've been to Stanwix Arts Theatre ... and as Linda pointed out,
it's a bit black isn't it?
I found the seats cramped, the air conditioning poor and they don't
number the seats ... so if you come in late (as we did) you take
your chances as to whether you'll be able to sit with your companion(s).
shouldn't detract from what was a highly enjoyable evening out however.
The sound system was very good, the view of Linda excellent and
the chocolate machine in the refectory superb.
a bit of a miserable git and I don't usually laugh out loud unless
I told the joke.
that doesn't mean I'm not capable of being thoroughly entertained
- and I was when I went to see Linda Smith perform.
fascinating to listen to, makes some lovely observations and has
a great way of telling a story.
a lot of people missed getting tickets for Linda's performance this
time around. If she visits the county again, get in there quickly
- she's a hot talent, and with more TV exposure nowadays, she's
bound to catch on in a big way.
you want to comment on this review? Would you like to write your
own review of the gig? If so contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- we'd love to hear from you.
show was good, I liked the one about the pig's heart valve - where
are you going to get a healthy young porker who's just fallen off
his motorbike. And carrying a donor card?
measure of success is if your competition winners would pay to go
again and the answer is yes, with several of my friends.