Theatre review - One Woman show

LIZ Kingsman’s One Woman Show feels like an overnight sensation. It’s one of the hottest tickets in town with queues snaking around the corner, exceeding those of Agatha Christie’s longstanding The Mousetrap next door.

In reality, though, this nimble comedy has built up plaudits over time. It opened at the Vault Festival in 2020, enjoyed a post-lockdown run at Soho Theatre, transferred to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before being catapulted into the West End.

Kingsman cleverly deconstructs the messed-up woman narrative – think Bridget Jones and Fleabag. She employs a series of comic skits but this is structured as a show within a show, rather than sketch comedy.

She pretends she is filming for a TV producer who couldn’t make the live performance. Throughout there are plenty of gags about malfunctioning mics and noisy cameras and she has a vocal relationship with the stage-manager. She also reminds us how little theatre in the West End is currently written by women.

Dressed in dungarees, Kingsman is a natural and a charismatic performer who seamlessly takes on other roles during her 70-minute monologue. Her ditzy heroine is a young woman who works in marketing for the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. She compares her achievements with those of celebrities on Twitter and doesn’t have much luck with men, although an exceptionally tall work colleague seems promising.

Injecting a more sombre note, Kingsman’s character appears numb to physical pain. She doesn’t realise she’s hurt after being run over by a taxi and her boss finds her with her hand in the lit toaster.

We quickly warm to Kingsman’s earnest, self-depreciating tone. Her sense of humour is delightfully silly and seems to appeal to men as much as women. Adam Brace ensures the pace never lets up and Chloe Lamford’s playful design comes complete with a mini-moat.

Catch it while you can.

Until January 21.

Originally published by Camden New Journal