Sophie Duker: Venus (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Sophie Duker: Venus

Confident and classy debut from rising star

That toe-curling notion of the 'white saviour' is thoroughly taken apart by Sophie Duker in the conclusion to her confident Fringe debut, Venus. Images of a Caucasian abroad handling cute black babies is one thing. When they include him photobombing a child pawing at their mother's breast is another. That the pictures are used as part of this person's Tinder profile catapults matters way beyond any sense of reason.

Duker neatly satirises this tawdry display during an hour in which she lays into racist and patriarchal archetypes, and finds heroes in the unlikeliest of places. Among the black icons she attaches herself to are Spencer, the painter from Balamory, and Skin Diamond, formerly one of the most influential women in the porn industry. But there's a twist to be had there that should drop lots of jaws.

Venus is all about Duker owning her own story, and refusing to be patronised, fetishised or marginalised in a Western society that has been built on such foundations. But before you worry that this might all sound a bit too Ted Talk-y, Duker has woven dozens of punchlines into the show and her chatty banter with her front row reveals a comic both at ease with herself and confident of her burgeoning status in stand-up.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug (not 14), 7pm, £7–£9 (£6.50–£8).

Sophie Duker: Venus

  • 3 stars

Berk's Nest in association with Avalon present Sophie Duker is your Venus, she’s your fire, your desire. Or is she? Silly, sexy, savage stand-up from a girl who’s definitely not a goddess. In her hotly anticipated full-fat woke debut hour Sophie takes her audience on an unconventional journey of self-discovery. Strap in.