If you’re after an early afternoon pick-me-up before a hard day’s Fringing, you could do a lot worse than Siân Docksey’s effervescent brand of high-energy whimsy. It’s a light, frothy and breezy take on family, sexuality and politics – complete with sea shanties.
Docksey begins by claiming she wanted to write a serious show. This isn’t an entirely believable claim from someone in orange water wings with matching nail varnish, and sure enough she’s told her Belgian mum that she’s gainfully employed as the top comedian on a cruise ship, rather than getting by on her wits and the kindness of punters at the Free Fringe. Soon she’s roping said punters into filming an unconvincing cruise video, complete with Subterranean Homesick Blues-style intertitles in competent French and incompetent Flemish.
Interdependent Woman is directed by Nicole Henriksen, and if you’re familiar with the day-glo, queer-friendly lunacy of the Aussie comic’s standup, then you’ll be happy to spend an hour in Docksey’s company, although there’s maybe a pinch more British reserve here. Even the tale of a Tottenham radical left sex party is told with a hint of bashfulness and given a less than triumphant ending, although the picture she paints of a super-nerd sex god named Colin would be flat-out hilarious in any culture.
Docksey is a warm, engaging performer with a real light touch with a crowd (and it helps that the audience are extremely happy to get involved). There is the attempt to deal with serious topics, “neoliberalism and gay stuff!” as she puts it, but there is always a moment of sheer silliness just around the corner; a dance to a self-penned song satirising Jordan Peterson while dressed as a lobster for instance.
It doesn’t all come together, and there isn’t the smoothest transition from the cruise ship material to the weightier topics, but there’s so many ideas being thrown from her hyperactive brain that there’s plenty to tickle those with any appreciation for the wackier side of surrealism. There is a sense of someone very cool going to some lengths to demonstrate otherwise, and it feels geared towards a more millennial demographic, but you’d have to have a calcified funny bone not to be amused by such gems as the theory of trickle-down economics explained using posh yoghurt. Interdependent Woman might not be the most substantial show you’ll see but it’s lots of fun.