At the Pleasance Dome’s Jack Dome, Catriona Knox scoops the audience in with a hyperactive rendition of I Will Survive, encouraging us to join her and belt out a line or two on the mic. The vivacious start to Adorable Deplorable may seem a little odd, even off-putting at first, but as the music fades and Knox begins talking to us in a thick Slovenian accent, the full picture begins to emerge. As she welcomes us to “The White House” and refers to “Ivanka” in the audience, we realise who this character is… and how apt the introductory song choice might be. Plucking an “artist” from the audience, it becomes apparent that we have been invited to a behind the scenes viewing of a Melania Trump portraiture session. The tone for Adorable Deplorable is set. This is a meticulously-crafted character sketch comedy centred on spouses of famous political figures and world leaders.
Knox is utterly committed to each of the five personas she adopts, altering her accents and behaviour flawlessly as she flits between them. She plunges into each scene with gusto and is immersed throughout, never breaking character once, even throughout some intense audience interaction. And these are no ordinary Q and A sessions. One crowd member becomes a first-date partner with intimate results and another a Syrian masseuse – no miming involved. The jokes are clever, topical and always funny and the pace never lags as Knox rattles through her monologues with aplomb.
But the famous characters aren’t just chosen as easy targets. Permeating each act is something more important. The mockery is there to subtly draw our attention to issues like female suppression, right-wing tyranny and political hypocrisy. This culminates in the final character – a rather unexpected visitor from the past who encourages us to break free from sexism, chant together, and move forward into the future.
This new show from Knox is smart, funny and empowering, highlighting Knox’s skills as an actor, writer and, as a result of her witty character-choices, even an activist.