REVIEW: A Festive Evening with Patsy May (The Museum of Comedy) ★★

You may recognise Patsy May as a semi-finalist on the 2014 series of Britain’s Got Talent. A charming miniature human in puppet form (controlled by Laura Bacon), she won over viewers across the UK with a gorgeous American accent and vibrant personality. She took up residency for one night only at London’s Museum of Comedy, promising a festive evening of laughter and joy, accompanied by an unnamed set of friends as co-performers.

Unfortunately, I realised that this was not going to be a total success very early on, when the audience had to struggle through the first half with poor quality audio – whilst this appeared to be the fault of the Museum of Comedy’s lacklustre speakers, crackly, broken pockets of noise really infringed on audience enjoyment. I had quite high expectations upon sitting down; sometimes when a concept is so simple – a bright-spirited puppet celebrating Christmas ‐ you imagine that it must possess a gem or two. Sadly, Patsy sets her own bar very high and does not really deliver. At the beginning she warns of bad language and explicit content – an ideal tonic for an adult audience – but is relatively mild-mannered and PG throughout.

The show is varied in content, with several comedic self-made videos, live performances of songs and even a magic act. I felt that there were one too many videos played, as they felt a little too long and self-indulgent (particularly the outtakes one, which contained a lot of in-jokes and wasn’t very funny to an external party). I was expecting far more stand-up comedy or direct address from Patsy, in the hope of getting to know her better, but a lot of the show deflected to other mediums and therefore we didn’t get enough time with her. Although the singing was entertaining, Patsy definitely missed a trick with not jazzing up the very traditional Christmas songs. Changing the words in each song to make them comical or personal would have been far more interesting, yet I felt myself losing interest in what felt a little like pub karaoke after the fifth word-faithful song.

A successful part of the show is the pull towards audience engagement. This is one way to redeem yourself if the content isn’t particularly engaging, as it will always stir rebellion in the crowd if they feel in danger of being pulled on stage, and thrill onlookers as they watch someone take part. Audience members had the opportunity to get thoroughly involved in the action and this generated the best response of all.

Patsy May is a very likeable character, and her creator Laura has a great deal of talent. However, this is not displayed anywhere near as effectively in this festive ensemble. The show possesses a few small pockets of fun, but ultimately disappoints with a surprising lack of comedic stand up, a video-heavy structure and a certain finesse that you would hope to have from a seasoned performer. A lot of potential, but not robust enough to turn into a block of shows just yet.

Reviewed by Laura Evans


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