Joanna Neary: Faceful of Issues (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Joanna Neary: Faceful of Issues

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Anachronisms abound in an hour of unhinged whimsy

Rather than her usual assortment of characters, Joanna Neary's 2015 show features just one: Celia Jesson, who's inspired by Brief Encounter's Celia (played in the film by Laura Jesson).

Celia's a canny creation: she's a woman out of time, and Neary – a Perrier Best Newcomer nominee in 2004 – sets the kooky, slightly unhinged tone very early with a ditty about Britpop sung in 1940s-nostalgia style. The hour that follows is littered with weird, anachronistic references, from Bunty (the girls' annual, for you very young kids) to Buzzfeed (her assessment: 'I laugh, but then I feel sullied'). It's not a surefire crowd-pleaser by a long way – but if your humour leans towards the quirky, and your sensibility to this side of vintage, it's enrapturing.

It's a shame that the space Neary's playing in isn't a little better suited to her razor-sharp whimsy; its odd shape doesn't quite suit the awkwardly inviting atmosphere she's worked so hard to create. But Faceful of Issues still succeeds, helped in part by Neary's lovely guitarlele-playing musical assistant Martin, who's on stage throughout and clearly loving each moment. It's a smart, fun and exquisitely crafted show that's well worth your time - if you like this sort of thing.

Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 30 Aug (not 17), 7.45pm, £10 (£9).

Joanna Neary: Faceful of Issues

  • 4 stars

Joanna Neary The much-loved Celia, housewife and host, returns, on tour with her Toxborough Village Hall Chat Show, in aid of the Animal Hospital, for a kitten who needs an iron lung. Topical talks, showbiz exclusives, celebrity interviews – plus a local locksmith’s bawdy confessions, a recipe for air soup, and a…