There’s been many a show that’s been a mixture of stand up and sketch comedy, dating back to the sixties and quite possibly before then, and yes, I should probably research this a little more but a couple of minutes of googling hasn’t revealed anything before that. Anyhow, the point is that it’s a format that many have relied on and Emily Atack is just the latest of hundreds to do so, yet unfortunately it’s a very predictable affair and doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done many a time before.
This first instalment of the show is all about dating and relationships, which is of course a subject that has been done to death a painful amount. I wish I could say that Atack offered up a new perspective, and had something fresh and original to say about it, but it’s not the case and bar the occasional throwaway line it was quite tedious to listen to. She’s very actor-ly as a stand up as well, giving over dramatic line readings and putting on a number of voices, and it feels like someone who’s watched a lot of stand up but is fairly new to performing it.
Interspersed throughout the show are a number of sketches but these are a very mixed bag too. There’s some okay ideas here, like a service where after a one night stand a crew come over and give someone a make over without waking the person they’ve slept with, and a funeral for someone’s love life is also a cute idea, but most of the time they’re not that funny when played out, and all of them go on for too long.
It’s not devoid of laughs, the morning make over sketch was a strong one and every so often Atack comes out with an amusing line, like when she discusses the differences between men and women taking nude photographs and casually mentions “The underside of Dave’s tatty old ballsack”, and her impersonation of Holly Willoughby was fairly amusing. But most of the time it’s monotonous and tired and not that far away from the kind of material you’d hear at an open mic night.
Atack’s a very likeable performer and so it’s a shame that her material is so very average, in the credits she’s listed as a writer but there’s also eight others who contributed, and that so many people have come together to create something so bland really is quite depressing. Perhaps future instalments will be better when she’s not tackling such a hoary old subject that has been done to death, I really hope that is the case, but I’m probably being overly optimistic in hoping that this show will ever be anything that will be more than mildly funny and vaguely watchable.