Facing up to gender politics and the elements
This article is from 2009.
The unflappable Geordie lass looks a bit intimidating on the Mr Muscle-themed poster for her new show, but a minute in her company reassures us that the butch press campaign is just skylarking. Last year’s if.comedy Best Newcomer is in flying form, with an assured stage presence and solid, if shopworn, material. Typical Woman is about cleaving to and bucking gender stereotypes. Men, supposedly strong and stoical and resilient, sometimes cry.
Fragile, sensitive, dainty women sometimes put up shelves. Not a thematic revolution then – a comedy show about the war of the sexes is like a rock opera about sound – but still a fine act.
And while there’s nothing literary or wordy in it, there’s no doubt that Millican is smart as a whip. Ingenious topspins on the audience’s gentle heckles and an intuitive mastery of timing let her capitalise on some great one-liners and nifty callbacks. It is kind of sad to have to add Millican to the long list of comics who, given the opportunity to broadcast funnywomen’s liberation o’er hill and dale, end up arguing that a girl’s favourite things are shopping, handbags and shopping for handbags. Not that these are shameful activities; just that female physicists, authors, doctors and CEOs might disagree.
She shows bravery though, in exposing her own physical shortcomings without apology, sometimes in spectacularly filthy detail. Her infectious grit and ability not to be dragged down by unreasonable expectations are the show’s moral centre. The spirited attempts of this particular Pleasance oven to bake its audience to a sweaty crisp narrowly failed but Millican’s gig succeeded by a comfortable margin. With some more idiosyncratic material in her quiver, she can only improve.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 7.30pm, £10–£11.50 (£8.50–£10).