Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011: How To Be Awesome - An Introduction - Lou Sanders

When Lou Sanders tells us early on that the name of her show doesn't necessarily fit the content, she quickly turns that potential disappointment on its head to reveal that it was actually just one of her rather brilliant pranks. In reality, she was probably right the first time, as - self-help fans beware - this show may be a lot of fun, but it certainly doesn't offer too many cast-iron tips on how to be awesome.

But that's no matter. 55 minutes spent with Lou Sanders is 55 minutes ram packed with lovely little ideas and a whole heap of different styles of comedy - a bit of odd whimsy here, and a neat one-liner there.

The only issue with this is that Sanders crams so many ideas into her show that not many have time to really progress. Her new-on-the-comedy-circuit alter ego Kerry P, for instance, with her painfully - and, purposefully on Sanders's part of course - obvious and banal observation comedy is a hoot, and it'd be fun to see more than a couple of minutes from her. And a member of the audience is treated to a This Is Your Life moment complete with lots of wonderful made-up facts ("he likes a bath... he's a bath man!") which I would have happily listened to for much longer.

There are rare moments when Sanders strays into more traditional story-teller mode, but she is absolutely at her best when she's at her most bizarre - talking to a toy pigeon named Doctor Spinky particularly springs to mind, for instance, or predicting audience members' futures with the aid of a flimsy cardboard 'Destiny Wheel'.

The loose theme of the show means Sanders has to act as if she thinks she's thoroughly marvellous - you've got to be an expert in awesomeness to instil it in others of course. It's hard to make arrogance charming, but when it's nicely played with a wink throughout, as it is here, Sanders proves it's possible. A bit haphazard, then, but hugely enjoyably so.

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