Stevie Martin: Vol. 1 at Soho Theatre
If, without any prior knowledge, someone was told that they would be seeing a show tonight called Stevie Martin: Vol.1, their mind may automatically be cast back to the well-known American actor and comedian of the almost identical name. Only, they would find out that it is in fact a woman who will be headlining this highly-anticipated stand-up spectacle. Coincidence or not, the premise puts feminism and chauvinism in the spotlight, with the titular performer using parody as a way of getting her patriarchal angst across to the audience.
As explained by the comedian herself, Stevie Martin: Vol.1 is the by-product of a writer’s block; having struggled to create a coherent and cohesive sketch consisting of a beginning, middle and an end, Martin opts for 30 openings instead – and includes them all within the piece – for the beginning of something is “actually the best bit”. From TED Talks to lip faults, misogyny to memes, the hour-long display pokes fun at the status-quo whilst overturning generic narrative structures, illustrating that there is no such thing as “my way or the highway” in life. Anything goes.
The gags are not intended to be clever or crafty, rather crude and chaotic in order to mimic the performer’s psychological disarray when she had initially set herself the daunting task of writing her first solo one-woman comedy act. Having said this, there should be no excuses here; Stevie Martin: Vol.1 does have its fair share of bumps along the road, especially when the auteur makes a case of gender inequality only to ridicule feminist theories later on. In all its absurdity, this experimental and banterous work will be one of those shows that will carry with it the “Marmite effect” and split the audience through and through.
Stevie Martin: Vol. 1 was at Soho Theatre from 17th until 20th April 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.