Half-Norwegian, half-American, English-born, but Scottish-raised, Katia Kvinge has a lot of cultural influences, and they each get chance to manifest themselves in a scatty hour, which seems reluctant to ever focus, even where it would benefit the performance. The hour has even been split into two alternating threads – a confessional one, and a character comedy one – and she seems committed to neither.
Hyperactivity is her thing, of course, but it could still be channelled. The character part of the show just becomes a list of things she’s going to do. Some are freakily funny – Bjork singing the Doors, Kristen Stewart teaching Hillary Clinton how to smile – but they’re just fired at us one after the other after the other. “This is a woman who does this….” “This is a woman who does that…” “This is a woman who does something else…” They’d benefit from any kind of structure, linking material or build-up.
This approach reaches its nadir in a segment called Around The World In Eighty Accents. The audience shout out names of countries, she does their accent, often a bit rubbishly, sometimes not at all, then asks for another. It’s less a comedy show, than some weird screen test she’s failing. It goes on for ever.
Some younger audience members lap it up; older ones down the front remain stony-faced. It’s easy to understand why. This is “look at me” comedy for the selfie generation. All too often, we’re being asked to marvel at her scattiness for its own sake. It quickly becomes tiresome if you’ve ever seen it put to more constructive use, as it undoubtedly could be.
The confessional sections contain the strongest material. She contrasts the advances of teenage boys when she moved to Scotland with the filmic scenes she imagined in her head – very funny. A closing sketch in which a therapist struggles to get her to pay attention long enough to diagnose her with ADD is also good.
When her fizzy energy is directed, Squirrel‘s great fun. When it’s left to freewheel, it’s not anarchic or charming, it’s infuriating.