Sam Lake: Aspiring DILF – Soho Theatre, London

Reviewer: Serafina Cusack

Writer: Sam Lake

Director: Lauren Pattinson

Before the lights come up, a news interview plays. We learn that Sam Lake has been marred with controversy. Accused of bigotry and vehicular manslaughter, he turns to podcasting to raise his voice above cancel culture.
‘Woke-ness’ has been in the news a lot recently. The likes of Andrew Doyle and J K Rowling have rampant access to the megaphone, crying out about their silencing over transphobia. It is a touchy subject, one ripe for the picking by someone like Sam Lake (millennial in a skinny jeans kind of way, but tapped into Gen Z brain rot online culture.)

It is a shame then, that once this conceit is set up, Lake immediately abandons it in favour of telling us salacious if overtly fictional stories from his life under a loose guise of trying to achieve ‘Daddy’ status. Lake is an undeniably fantastic storyteller, but in the same way that your funniest friend is. Lake is self-deprecating, potty-mouthed and has borrowed a lot of his punchlines from memes. None of this stops him from being really very funny as he talks to us like old familiars. He brings us in on inside jokes and creates a sense of instant camaraderie. It is incredibly charming but not quite enough to sustain an hour of comedy.

In an attempt to cut through the fat of played-up gay stereotypes and light misogyny, Lake tells us something true about one of his early sexual experiences. It’s poignant and he has built up more than enough trust for the trauma to be held with care. But again we are left wondering, are we watching a comedy show or catching up with an old friend over one too many wines?

With some firm direction, narrative prowess, and maybe just a little less time spent on the millennial side of TikTok, Sam Lake will surely apply his natural storytelling ability to a show that sparks real intrigue. Hopefully, the show that was promised to begin with.

Runs until 13 April 2024
The Reviews Hub Score

Old-Friend 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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