Francesca Martinez (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Francesca Martinez

A charmingly caustic look at ‘normal’

She may be ‘the world’s wobbliest comedian’, but the force of Francesca Martinez’s convictions and the energy with which she puts them across never falter in a show that’s as hard-hitting as it is caustically funny. She takes to the stage with this poser: ‘What do you do when you’re labelled abnormal in a world obsessed with normality?’ And then makes a fierce and affecting argument against the gloss of the media, discouraging careers advisers and so-called school ‘friends’ (‘bitches!’), lampooning Sarah Palin, Nick Clegg and Rupert Murdoch as she goes, not only to bare her political fangs but as foils for her own good fortune.

She swithers conversationally between the particulars of her childhood and difficult teen years at the local comp, and anecdotes about Grange Hill, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Irish poets and (not) carrying an Olympic torch, her delivery direct, warm and charming. Though the ending is slightly at odds with the rest, the sentiment is nevertheless touching; a powerful, thoughtful curtain closer on an altogether inspiring lesson, for folk who wobble as well as folk who don’t. ‘If you feel something in this life you should bloody well say it,’ she says. Martinez bloody well does, and how.

The Stand V, 558 7272, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), 7.35pm, £9 (£8).

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