LOU SANDERS: SHAME PIG | London, Soho Theatre

The unpredictable February climate brought an unreliable audience to Soho Theatre’s Downstairs. As a result one half of the room sizzled, but the other stayed cool.

Honed from its successful Edinburgh Fringe origins, Shame Pig offers a brief but insightful look inside the (mostly sexual) life of Lou Sanders, as she attempts to convince us, once and for all, that comedy = tragedy + time; or perhaps it’s chops + bot. Ultimately though, the real jokes were few and far between, as was the shame.

This is a routine that lives or dies by whether you think its playfulness is genuine. There was a through-line of self imposed interruptions, verging on Tourette’s, that seemed to bear the most fruit, and whispered mantras landed with only partial success. Part arrogance, part insecurity, partly excessive. But in the end you either think a line like “live your life: pre-cum is real” is effective or you don’t.

However, what was most captivating was Sanders’ breathless style. She ushered the show furiously on with the wild ejaculations and gestures of a 1950’s cruise comedian — on several occasions even interrupting her routine to introduce herself, with handshake. This, coupled with several satisfactorily raucous anecdotes, won the evening, and made sure that although no one died laughing, there were some fairly major sprains.

Henry Heffer

Check out Lou Sanders on 8 out of 10 Cats, Taskmaster, and The Russell Howard Hour.

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