Reviewer: Jo Beggs
Caitlin Moran has never been short of something to say. At 13 she started writing her first book, at 15 she took her first ever train journey to London to be told she was going to be published. Last year the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism called her the most influential British Journalist on Twitter.
Moran is at The Lowry as something of an apology for not coming to Manchester/Salford on her How To Build A Girl book tour last summer. It’s clearly a long awaited North West appearance, packing out the Lowry’s 1700-seater lyric theatre. Following the massive success of her 2011 How To Be A Woman, Moran draws a crowd that’s more rock star than writer, and there’s a powerful feeling of devotion among the sisterhood.
Moran opens by confronting the gender demographic and heralds the men in the audience who are proud to declare their allegiance to the Feminist cause. In fact, she makes the whole audience stand on the seats and declare it. The level of dedication – to Feminism and to Moran – is evident in the number of people who do this without question. The few who don’t look sheepish. And rightly so. This moment of interaction, of rebellion, of fun, carries with it all the things that Moran brings to the show. It’s all about joy, she tells us later. If it isn’t, then what’s the point? Moran’s joy comes from making choices – the determined act of choosing what kind of woman she was going to be. From an unconventional childhood – some of which we hear about in the second half of the evening and which she shared with the world in How To Be A Woman – and her teenage years finding her way in the world – to this forty year old mother who stands before us, Moran has chosen to like what she sees in the mirror.
And it’s that confidence that she brings to the stage – to her menstruation horror stories, to her evangelism on how culture changes hearts and minds (what she calls ‘the worthy bit’). It even makes you forgive her the celebrity name-dropping. Most notably though, it’s the confidence she brings to her physical performance that gives the live experience the edge over her books. With the gravitas of a much more seasoned comedy performer, she holds the stage with her matey charm – demonstrating sexual positions to illustrate one story, talking us through her teenage body worries in another. With her trademark honesty she’s shared with the room (and with the world in a pre-show Tweet) how nervous she feels about tonight’s performance. As the consummate story-teller she demonstrates not a shred of it.
Part stand-up, part book reading, part lecture, part political campaign – Caitlin Moran Live! How To Build A Girl 2: Oh My God! I Thought Of Some More things I Want To Say! is as difficult to categorise as it is to fit the title on a ticket, or overturn the patriarchy. But after a night with Caitlin Moran, nothing seems impossible.
Reviewed on 14 April 2015