Writer: Shappi Khorsandi
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
Are too many comedians talking about childhood, relationships or other obvious topics such as Brexit and Trump? If you answered yes to this, Shappi Khorsandi may restore your faith in comedy. Mistress and Misfit rises effortlessly above the comedy sludge and is funny and original in equal measure.
Her inspiration is Emma, Lady Hamilton, who, for non-historians, was the mistress of Lord Nelson, who, for non-historians, is the guy on the massive plinth in Trafalgar Square. Khorsandi tells us this partly because her research revealed that many people don’t know who either of them were. Even people who do know, probably won’t have heard the story of Lady Hamilton told like this before.
The beauty of the show is the way Khorsandi gives the story a modern twist, with references to bus stations, dating aps and wedding present lists cutting into her retelling of events alongside detours into her own life, told with the honesty and self-deprecation that only a comedian truly at ease with themselves and their audience can manage.
As to whether a figure from more than two hundred years ago has any relevance in the world of stand-up today, while there is little direct comparison between Hamilton and Khorsandi’s own life, what connections there are enable her to effortlessly blend past and present. The touching finale that tells the story of what Nelson wanted for Hamilton when he died, and what actually happened, is sad and poignant, and only slightly let down by a final joke that spoils the moment.
During the show, Khorsandi makes a comparison between 18th century prostitutes and 21st century comedians, noting that neither should be reviewed until you have seen them in action three times. In Khorsandi’s case, and in the nicest possible way, once is enough to reach a conclusion.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed