Pam Ann at the Leicester Square TheatreCultureTheatre
Opening with the high production value and energy of a Beyoncé concert, Australian comedian Caroline Reid’s iconic show Pam Ann: Fly initially takes off with such promise. A surprising lack of insight, depth and originality, though, are the faulty mechanics that make this flight such a disaster – but at least passengers seem entertained as it goes down.
With air hostess Pam Ann as your guide, Reid’s material focuses on the intricacies of airline travel, current events and the stereotypes met throughout her stewardess career. While her act is lively and in-your-face, the issues she touches upon are often repetitive, in poor taste and outdated.
Focusing heavily on the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, she makes very shallow observations about the tragedy, remarking that only now does the general public “give a shit” about Malaysia and that a survivor named “Flow Ting” has been found. In addition to some insensitive and witless commentary, Reid goes on to interact with her audience by calling out for “black cock” to the crowd, then accosts respondents with blatantly racist questions about their unemployment. While discriminatory comedy can often be humorous, Reid’s stale take on tired labels does little to stimulate the imagination. It seems as though all it takes to get the audience in hysterics is some sexual innuendo and an impression of deep throating.
Throughout the evening, her performance is interspersed with parody videos of popular films like Titanic and The Sound of Music, dubbed “in-flight entertainment”. Somewhat engaging, most of the content is too obvious to be valued and it appears as though the effects and gimmicks incorporated into her act are used to distract viewers from that fact that her material is weak and unable to stand alone.
Overtly crass in an attempt to be controversial, Caroline Reid’s only redeeming quality is her animated delivery, but it’s sub-par at best.
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