Little moments and brief encounters
This article is from 2007.
A consummate mistress of the quick change, over-stretched smile and rolling eyeballs, Joanna Neary cascades from one monologue to another with a very British kind of grace. Full of quirky imagination and charming clowning, she brings to life such varied characters as a drummer from the ‘Bongs of Hope Collective’, a supercilious artist who turns Paisley shawls into ‘felt’, and a failed PowerPoint presenter whose subject is sex toys. Neary also draws on her childhood diaries, a medley of sartorial failure, interchangeable boys and removable teeth.
Swingers pop up here and there to talk about rubber, but they weren’t the best creations. Neary is fine at being rude, but her real gift is for zany sweetness of which your grandma would approve. One of her most successful sketches is inspired by the repressed passion of Brief Encounter where she dons a period hat and a perfectly modulated voice to become Celia Johnson. ‘Arthur hasn’t noticed’ she confides, excitement ripening in her throat. ‘He just thinks I’m an ordinary woman.’ (Hannah Adcock)
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