Lorraine Chademunhu has an unusual issue to deal with. She’s a woman with a particularly deep voice, and if you can’t actually see her, then you could believe you’re talking to a man. That’s the problem she’s built this comedy show round – the misunderstandings and petty inconveniences of people thinking you’re a man, when you’re not.
Pleasingly, rather than a straight stand-up approach, she’s taken the more inventive route of providing us with tech and prop-based sketches so we’re fully aware of just what a nuisance this is. After an initial sketch in which she’s dating a very famous, but unpleasant man, we find her attempting to buy car insurance from women-only provider Sheila’s Wheels, with ensuing hilarity. Of course, not everyone in a call centre is who they say they are either…
Chademunhu gets strong laughs from cheap visual gags. She doesn’t strike you as the most natural performer perhaps, but there’s nothing wrong with her funny bone – she knows what will get a laugh, even if it is a big cucumber.
A couple of TV-based sketches particularly stand out. In the first, she’s on Dragon’s Den trying to pitch the idea of recording her soothing deep voice as a sleep-aid. In the second, she’s on X-Factor trying to use it to hit the big time. Both involve her interacting with recordings of the real life presenters to good comic effect.
Of course, trying to enter into dialogue with a recording is a timing and tech nightmare even for the slickest old pro at the Pleasance. To her credit, Chademunhu mostly hits the mark, with a few wobbles – enough to keep the humour going, at least. Her big finale needs better acting, something which can be a hindrance throughout, but she definitely makes a success of this unusual premise and convinces us that yes, indeed, life as a woman with a ‘man’s’ voice is going to cause problems you might not have thought of.