Diane Spencer: All-Pervading Madness (3 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Diane Spencer: All-Pervading Madness

Don’t judge a comic by their gentle demeanour

One of the first thoughts that might enter your head when popping along to a Diane Spencer gig is whether or not she will play on the fact that her name is but a single letter away from one of the most famous women of the 20th century. Actually, playing on it is not quite what she does, but there are three mentions of the dead Di which at least feel justifiable within the thread of her story.

All-Pervading Madness is a tale of urban depravity stemming from what should have been a simple journey home, which she describes as ‘all-true’. Immediately alarm bells will ring in some heads, with that phrase remaining in your head as the ludicrous scenarios and bloody imagery mutate and multiply. Whether the grand finale of an apocalyptic scene in a late-night tube train is true or not, the fact that Spencer felt the need to express its veracity leaves a sense of doubt. What is far easier to believe is that she would spend her 23rd birthday watching an episode of Inspector Morse.

The thing that will be picked up on as her run continues is the way her innocent looks and polite accent are violently betrayed by the utter filth and gruesome bile that is emitted from her mouth via a clearly polluted brainsack. This is both a boon and a bane to her act. As the references of crudity are stacked up on one another, you eventually find yourself immune to their power. Within the course of a career this might be understandable, but over an hour-long debut Fringe show, it seems like something of a wasted opportunity. Still, there is clearly enough talent in her comedy armoury to suggest that a great show is not far from her grasp. One is quite amused.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 28 Aug (not 16), 5.45pm, £9 (£8).

Diane Spencer: All-Pervading Madness

  • 3 stars

2011's breakout comedy star tells 'a cleverly inter-woven series of dark, edgy and hilarious experiences' (Theatreview.org.nz) covering one journey home descending into madness. Chortle Best Newcomer 2011. Best Comedy (Emerging) Nominee, Adelaide Fringe 2011. ‘Winsome and devilish' (Guardian). 'Deliciously dirty…

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