ComedyFeaturedLondonReview

How to Flirt: The Ted XXX-Mas Edition – Soho Theatre, London

Reviewer: Dulcie Godfrey

Writer: Daisy Doris May

Director: Mpilo May

There’s nothing like a good round of call and response of ‘Steve Porters’ / ‘Lock up your daughters’ to start a show off right. That’s how Steve Porters, self-taught feminist from Guildford, Surrey, introduces himself at his show, or lecture in How to Flirt: The Ted XXX-mas Edition now playing at Soho Theatre. Here Daisy Doris May’s excellent drag character provides a concoction of enough laughs and dancing to get any audience, in Steve’s words, ‘Listenin’. Learnin. Lovin’ and importantly, Laughin’.

The house lights come down, and the audience of Soho Theatre are thus enrolled in university, the subject of study being BIRDS. The principles of BIRDS (B for bold, I for interesting, R for romance, D and S for dancing and spooning)teach the audience the art of picking up women in real-time. From analysing statistics on response rates, learning some killer facts and pick-up lines and even putting the learned skills to the test with fellow audience members, the Soho Theatre audience is privileged to learn from an expert like Steve.

A strong goatee, slicked-back hair, and of course, a backwards hat, provide a mask for Daisy Doris May, along with an impressive silicone six-pack chest piece. The sheer hilarity, almost charm, of Steve makes the show dangerously funny and at times endearing. Genuine moments in learning consent (another instance of call and response ‘If she says no’ / ‘That’s alright!’) are effortlessly segued into dirty jokes and perfectly placed innuendos.

Steve’s excellence resides in a performative chauvinism that is brilliantly blended with an attempt at demonstrating his ‘self-taught feminism’, perfectly summed up by Steve donating an audience member a tampon with his phone number on it. A projector provides visual aids to the lecture, displaying key information or transforming the stage into a bus stop/café/fancy restaurant where Steve enacts real-life role play with audience members to test out the principles of the BIRDS method.

Shows like these can tend to rely too heavily on one shtick, quickly fatiguing the audience especially when awkward audience interaction is involved; however, How to Flirt succeeds in putting forward the perfect balance of rehearsed sections, props, audience participation and very impressive dance routines. Even predictable jokes about Lynx deodorant are rendered funnier in Steve’s capable hands.

Handing over the microphone to an audience member is brave in any setting, but even during riskier moments, May’s character doesn’t slip even slightly. The outrageous flirting with audience members in the intimate space, ready with interjections of Steve’s catchphrase response of ‘Hoiiii’ means that Soho Theatre’s clientele absolutely eats out of May’s hand.

In short, if you find yourself in Soho after 10 pm, learning How to Flirt with Daisy Doris May as Steve Porter (lock up your daughters) is a TED XXX talk that is not to be missed.

Runs until 16 December 2023

The Reviews Hub Score

Seriously funny.

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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