Sunday, 15 May 2011

Catie Wilkins - Chip Off The Odd Block

I had seen Catie perform an early version of this show last year when it was called "Inheritance Tax". I mentioned to her shortly after that the one and only criticism was the title, as, if I didn't know who she was, the title wouldn't make me pay for a ticket. Anyway, after a lot of tweeting and suggestions from her followers, she has the much improved title of "Chip Off The Odd Block". The show is about her fears that she may be turning into her parents, and relies a lot on anecdotes and stories about them. Her father being logical, cold and robotic and her mother being rather hot-headed. I feel both guilty and proud that my suggestion made her change the title, as this one is better by far.

So, on Friday I had arranged to meet Rob and Simon at The Hen & Chickens (a great little theatre space in Highbury) and we had a beer before we were summoned upstairs. It was quite a "selective" audience and we took our seats at the far end of the front row.

On stage, Catie is very likeable. She has a vulnerable, shy side which you instantly warm to, and she is an intriguing mix of prettiness and geekiness. This was a preview so she referred to notes in the places that she wasn't too sure about that were rather new, reading a story she had written as a child and telling us about her parents and her fears that she may become them.

The reading of her father's Christmas circular is fantastic, as is her mother's catchphrase ("How dare you come here and say that"). One of the new lines in the show that I hadn't heard before was the story of when her brother came out as gay. "His psychologist said it may be because our mother was overbearing. We didn't tell her. She was overbearing"

The show ended and unlike most acts who would leave the stage and go backstage, Catie got her notes together and started packing up, leaving the audience unsure of what to do next. An awkward moment as we all filed out past her.

Also attending the show was Suzi Ruffell who is a very funny comedian in her own right and was seeing a full hour long show by Catie for the first time.

By the time Edinburgh comes, the rough edges will be off, and if you are going to the Fringe, this is one show you should definitely make time for!

On the way home I saw what I thought might by a "Banksy". Looking at it closer I realise it's not, but great to see this art work of Frank Sidebottom in Islington. (It's on the corner of Cross Street and Essex Road in case you're interested)

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