Creator: Anna Nicholson
Reviewer: Simon Topping
A church is an odd venue for a comedy show; sat in pews the crowd sit expectantly like a congregation awaiting a sermon, the music rolls and Anna Nicholson bounces onto stage bursting with energy and enthusiasm. From the start, the gathering know they are in for some madcap fun. This is unlike any vicar taking a service!
The premise of the show is that the audience are here to judge the five nominees for Woman of the Year. We see two scenes from each character and then, accumulating all the evidence, vote for our favourite at the end.
Nicholson is confident, likeable performer of great skill. She slips into each persona easily and draws us into their worlds completely. A gifted mimic, we are treated to several regional accents, all perfectly executed, with some fabulous idiosyncrasies added.
Used as a cunning device to allow Nicholson to perform her mystifyingly quick changes, we are guided through the evening by a disembodied male voice, who is sometimes awkwardly inappropriate and shares rather too much of his inner monologue, raising laughter in the room.
Developed with James Cary (Bluestone 42, Miranda), you would expect the show to be sharp and witty and it does not disappoint.
Tonight’s nominees range from an wonderfully over competitive Vicar, a slightly creepy, over familiar bra sales woman, a Liverpudlian teenager who wants to change the world, a Cherly Cole-esque beauty vlogger and a no nonsense, straight talking, sex loving grandma from Yorkshire.
Each character is funny in their own right and Nicholson embodies these very different candidates with great aplomb. All come with a song to sing, accompanied with a live pianist, which shows off Nicholson’s fantastic singing voice. There are some great one liners and a very funny case of mistaken identity described by one of the women.
The later stages of the piece gives Nicholson room to play with the audience and improv a little, which you can tell she relishes and the audience nervously enjoy. As the evening comes to a close this crowd agrees there can be only one winner as our votes are cast in the form of claps and cheers.
In a fabulous way, the performance feels like good old fashioned character comedy, think Victoria Wood in a smart phone age. A thoroughly enjoyable evening in a church full of laughter and joy.