Live Review: Flora Anderson – Romantic

flora anderson romantic index
2Northdown, King’s Cross, London, 21/07/2019.

In the blurb for Flora Anderson’s debut show she asks the question “Is she an epic Romantic vagabond or just an entitled absolute pr*ck?” and the problem is that I kind of think that she might be both, but that’s not quite the conclusion she comes to at the end of the hour. It’s frustrating as there are elements of interest here and she has the odd decent joke, but she’s also often quite patronising, and definitely entitled, and just because she’s aware of such a fact doesn’t make this hour of comedy any better.

It begins in an uneven manner as she talks about her time at university, and how she’s a romantic in the way the 19th century poets like Byron, Shelley and Keats were, passionately believing in the importance of creativity. Some of this material is funny – she has an amusing take on which of the poets she’d Fuck, Marry or Kill, but other parts come across as a bit patronising when she seems momentarily annoyed that the audience don’t react to the poet’s names, presuming that we don’t know who they are rather than just that it’s not exactly presented in a way the audience can respond to. It’s at this point she establishes a recurring pay off to various jokes about how she’s directed a few plays, but while it’s funny once it quickly begins to grate and I found myself wishing she was a little more inventive.

She’s on sturdier ground when she talks life after university and how she had to move back in with her parents, with one joke where her father doesn’t offer her wine but juice making me laugh hard, and she also has some strong material about how she’s aware that she is extremely fortunate to have had the life she’s had. There’s a lot of mockery of her status in this section that works really well, even if it goes off the boil right at the end when she talks about Brexit and how both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn both lived in the same borough that she does, and though the comments she makes can’t be argued with they’re not that funny.

Unfortunately the rest of the set takes a surprisingly quick decline after this, where she talks about the job she has, and a woman she had to train who turned out to have a genuinely complicated and quite harrowing life. Again, it felt a little patronising as Flora suddenly realised just how she lucky she was working in Digital Marketing – with an extended comparison to how her friends branded themselves while on holiday being particularly unfunny too – and then it ended with a rant about her new boss and what a shit he is. Now that’s undoubtedly true given what he said to her, but it came out of the blue and didn’t bring any real sense of closure to the story Anderson set out to tell.

This wasn’t in any way a terrible show, or one which offended in any manner, but it feels to me that Anderson isn’t quite ready to do an entire hour just yet, the quality of the material is all over the place and she seemed to lack confidence in certain aspects of it, suggesting at various points that she was either going to cut a joke or that she knew something wasn’t funny but she still liked it. Perhaps in a couple of years time she’ll develop in to a great comedian and she certainly has some interesting ideas, but right now too many jokes have poor pay off’s, and it’s a very uneven work.

★★ 1/2

Alex Finch.
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