Sophie Willan: Branded (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

Sophie Willan: Branded

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Societal ills are spied through a different kind of lens

Sophie Willan hits back at being branded a female, Northern working-class comedian in this considered attack on reducing people to stereotypes. She takes serious issue with identity politics and, while someone's background shouldn't be the determining factor in their credibility, it is Willan's unique set of experiences that make her perspective vital and appealing.

She's talked previously about her absent father, who she thought was Richard Ashcroft for a time, and her mother's dependency on heroin. In a reflective hour that looks back on her life and comedy career so far, Willan adds to this her issues with public responses to contemporary feminism and the Manchester bombing in May (particularly the poetry it inspired) as well as revealing some of her struggles to fund a career in the arts without the luxury of a financially supportive family.

While some of the more general material feels a little like treading the same ground as many other comedians are occupying at the moment, Willan is at her best when mining her unique circumstances for a fresh take on society and delivering it with gusto.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 8pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10).

Sophie Willan: Branded

The comedian returns with some brutally honest yet hilarious tales of her upbringing.